Satchell: XNA's future not completely mapped

So says Chris Satchell. This week, in an interview with, Satchell mentions they are focusing on the tools, not all of the distribution methods and other concepts behind how XNA Game Studio will work. They are more excited for a second round of Dream Build Play coming up this year.

He is also careful to remind people that just because XNA Game Studio is going to use a peer review process, the end of the pipeline is still controlled by Microsoft. Contrary to naysayer’s belief, the peer review process stands a fantastic chance at making some positive strides and leading to some excellent new games. The open source movement seems to work well as it stands right now, why should this be any different? 😉

EA's John Riccitiello claims games are equal to movies…

In an interview with Financial Times (FT) EA’s Chief Executive stated that we are in a time when “the greatest games will be viewed by almost everybody as being as important as Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Oh how I wish it were true, but I have to disagree with Mr. Riccitiello. One of the best games of the last few years was undeniably Mass Effect. Unfortunately for the industry, we spent more time talking about a 30 second scene than the brilliant quality of the game as an interactive piece of fiction – a piece of art. There was a graphic sex scene somewhere in the middle of Schindler’s List, too, but that’s not what people remember, or what people focused on. But unfortunately for video games like the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV, clearly rated “M” for Mature (age 17+) in the United States, the media will have nothing to say of the brilliant script, fantastic voice talent, and fine details in imagery that go into the game. No, they’re going to focus on virtual use of drugs and alcohol, objectification of women, and violence. All of which were themes of many prominent films.

The silver lining to the FT article, was the undeniable success of the video game industry. His appointment to this position and decision to split EA into several lables all comes with a bit of pressure. “Under the 16-year tenure of his predecessor, Larry Probst, the company had grown from sales of $102m in 1991 to $3bn in revenues last year.”

Weekend Review: Blogging Fuzzy Edition

I’m having a strange off sort of day… just can’t seem to focus. So I thought I would take just a couple of minutes to clear my fuzzy mind! So, let’s play catch up, shall we?

  • Yet another crime balmed on video games.
  • Microsoft sticks to their guns about mods for games… and… you know… that they’re bad.
  • Sony’s PS3 is dealing with (or denying) a few problems of their own.
  • A sweet sequel appears, 5 years overdue, will be hitting the multiplatform scene.
  • The 360 is still in a sales slump in Japan.
  • Daniel Maher leaves team to join Europe’s expanding Inside Xbox team.
  • Mystery game codenamed Project RedLime still unknown. The guys who brought you The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay are likely to take the reigns of one of Origin’s classic franchises, my hopes are pinned with the WCNews guys, wishing for Wing Commander. But anything could be in store.

You all caught up? I thought so. 😉

Counterpoint: Stephen King Defends games?

Despite typos and an all out lack of citation, I’m pointing to this article, which claims that horror novel author Stephen King had a few points to make defending video games, recently. Upon researching the citationless work, I stumbled on to the Reuters article, stating that the comments come from King’s recent Entertainment Weekly magazine column. While I will not quote from the brief article, King’s strongest point is that, essentially, video games are pop culture, and pop culture is something everyone can have some kind of opinion on, while ignoring larger issues.

While the ensuing comments from the first article are sparse, they are precisely what I hope to hear from parents taking an involved role in their children’s upbringing.

Here we Go Again: Freedom of Speech v. Video Games

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[Update 1]
I’m normally more respectful of people, but I really am tired of this debate – and the fact that it comes from people who have no clue what they’re talking about, no business talking about it, and most importantly, no reason to be drudging up and instigating aimless discussion about the topic!

At 1:00 this morning (certainly five hours after she was already asleep), angry generation gapped author Phyllis Schlafly (do what you do, internet) posted an editorial stating that video games and their designers should not be given the same privileges as the rest of America. Says Schlafly, “It does not require a leap in imagination to see the risk of immature players transferring violent role-playing to real life.

So says the media. I’ve never seen someone convicted of murder insist video games caused them to act that way. Sure, after a school shooting, they find video games on their computer, and say that must have been the culprit. I encourage you to walk in to ANY home with someone under 30 living under the roof and not find video games. They are a part of our culture, as was already discussed this week.

And why shouldn’t these video game designers, and game players be granted the same rights as anyone else? Are we not promised freedom of expression? If I chose to express myself by relieving stress on a virtual foe, while simultaneously engaging in a compelling storyline, enjoying breathtaking imagery, and responding on a very human level to superb voice acting talent is that coming from Hollywood – is that not far more constructive than sitting in front of my television and tuning in to see if my favorite singer is America’s favorite singer?

I listen to NPR on my drives to and from work, I keep up on world events, but when I choose to sit down with a piece of interactive media, why am I suddenly looked at as though I may become a psychopath in the near future? Why is it that adult film theaters still exist, but what I do in my living room is so taboo? Nobody is putting a $400 system and a $60 game in the hands of young children apart from their parents. The rating is clearly marked on the front of every game. It has nothing to do with the complexity of the system, and how hard it is to pay attention to video games. If you can take the time to hand your kid $60, you should take the time to see if the game is rated 6 and up, 13 and up, or 17 and up. You can look at the back of a movie at a store and say “it’s rated R, you can’t have it.” Why can’t you look at the front and say “it’s rated M, you can’t have it.”

At 13 I could not play Mortal Kombat, my mother did not permit it in our home. That was before the days of the rating system, and she was able to keep me away from it. Sure I would sneak off to a friend’s house and play a few minutes at a time – but it never entered our household until I was much older. A rating system shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s there to help. If one does not use it, the industry is not to blame.

For God’s sake, Schlafly, talk to your grandchildren. I’ll guarantee you they’ve spent a weekend shooting aliens, zombies, and zombie aliens. The article mentions one game in particular, “‘Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend,’ boasts it will enable the user ‘to hack your enemies to meaty bits!'” I’ve played that game, and while it does have very mature content, the violence is actually rather tame. There are a host of weapons available to a player, but as far as the meaty bits? None! The game has no form of dismemberment beyond decapitation. Gruesome? Perchance, but there is a rating system in place, which the game fully adheres to, and even posts a warning before the game starts that the content is not suitable for children.

Yes, we have a video game rating system in the United States. It works the same way as the film ratings. Nobody gets upset when a rated R movie appears in a theater with sexual content, nudity, and graphic violence. And any given theater is accessible to hundreds of people at a time, for as little as a few dollars. Video games are required to be played within your own home, and anyone with a console knows the games are not cheap. But still, though we are forced to keep our passion and hobbies hidden behind closed doors like sickening degenerates, it’s never good enough, and a person who found the introduction of television to the home detrimental to family life is the same kind of person who is going find fault in any form of creative expression unfamiliar to them.

Jazz music, Beatnik Poetry, Rock Music, Heavy Metal, and Video Games. Someone always has to have something to hate, but really, people? Isn’t it about time we move on from video games start condemning the Easy Bake Oven for creating a generation of sugar addicts?

Better Know a Gamer: Issue #8: Snorkle256

Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
My gamertag is snorkle256 and has been ever since I connected up to live. Since then it has become my handle for everything on the net. It’s origins are very simplistic, I was trying to find a unique name and settled on snorkle. Course, it wasn’t a unique name or I’d never have had to tack on the two-fiftysix (Which was my favorite size of computer memory at the time.)

Nu: Where are you from?
I’m from a nice little town in Wisconsin on the border of Minnesota. It is nice, cozy and provides job opportunities towards the Twin Cities (MN).

Nu: How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
I’m 23 and have been working for a large corporation as a contract work. Basically I’m prepping their computer systems for resale by our company. Its pretty boring but provides a lot of down time. (Internet Use!) Recently I started writing for a gaming website called Generation: Gamerz. Honestly it is more of a passion than a hobby now and it is really a dream come true to be writing game related article and reviewing games.

Nu: How long have you been gaming in general?
I’ve been gaming ever since the days of Windows 3.1. Any game that I could find that matched the specifications of our system was soon to be mine. I was stuck on pc gaming for a while until I was able to get a -used- N64. I had always been playing games over at the cool friends house. (Also the guy who had the cool cable TV as well. Of course eventually was able to get an original Xbox and Xbox live.

Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
I’ve had a Xbox 360 since the Saturday before they were released. THANK YOU MOUNTAIN DEW! Yes, I was an “Every 10 Minutes” winner. Actually, so was my co-worker at the time. Needless to say, That really pissed my boss off.

Nu: What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
My favorite moments are the ones where everyone gets something for free from MS. (Boo-Yah!)

Nu: Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of all my COD2 Veteran Achievements, though I don’t have all of them. I still have the game and plan to go back and finish the last mission off someday.

Nu: Are you currently working toward any achievements?
I’d like to work on getting more of the COD4 achievements, but honestly I’ve been spending most of my time playing on-line.

Nu: What game(s) are you playing the most now?
It is really a toss up between 3 games. I play quite a bit of COD4 and always jump back on Halo 3 when my friend comes over for Monday night Halo 3 games. Right now I’ve been jumping into the Battlefield: Bad Company beta and it is a bunch of fun.

Nu: What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
I really don’t listen to a lot of music, right now Ghost Hunters is on the TV if that counts for anything.

Nu: Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I usually stick to one Gamerpic for a while until I find one that better fits.

Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
I am always on the forum at Unscripted360, the community there is just really awesome.

Nu: What game are you looking most forward to in 2008?
All of them, I am just addicted games in general! (Maybe I should just make a list of the games I am -not- looking forward to?)

Nu: Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
I have three all time favorite games: COD4, Halo 3 and Starcraft.

Nu: Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
Just started playing COD4 on-line with a new friend, La Femme Reaper. She’s pretty cool and has her own blog named after her tag.

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Who the hell is Snorklewacker and should I be afraid of them?

Snorkle256 everyone! He runs a blog of his own, and is Folding for the good of mankind. 😉 The internet’s a smaller place than you’d think! Be sure to send him a friend request and a game invite!

More important than the sales: The BUYERS!

Before everyone starts digging into the numbers, let me be bold enough to say: who cares which console sold more when you have 72% of all Americans playing video games!? This is exactly why I’m not affraid to tell my co-workers about my passion for video games. I’ve grown up as part of a generation with video games at hand, 24/7. Since Christmas 1987 (when my parents bought a Commodore 64) I’ve had video games in my life, and I’ve never gone a day without them being some how in reach (hand helds, watches, cell phones)… it doesn’t necessarily surprise me that 72% of Americans play video games, but it nevertheless excites me!

Better Know a Gamer: Issue #7: ThumpThis

What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
Well my gamer tag is Thumpthis,the story behind it is amusing my original account was Thumpdaddy 2 but it got corrupted on MS servers so I had to make the one I own now. I tried to put in F!!kThis – was unacceptable

Where are you from?
Wetumpka,AL Been here my whole life

How old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
Well I’m 40 years old but young at heart,when I’m not here I work at Elmore County Sheriff Dept where I am a correction officer (Sgt). My family is my pride and joy been married for over 12 years have two boys age 16 & 11 talking about a handful.My hobbies consist of tennis & the X-box 360!!

How long have you been gaming in general?
Been gaming for over 30 years so I can look where we came from,remember we thought Pong was good as it could get. But the 360 to me is the best thing going.

How long have you been a 360 owner?
Was a owner when it first came out and have had ups and downs with it as I’m on my fourth system. But I’m a gamer and know it has the best games around and Live kicks azz.

What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
Have to say the first time I played online and remember I was playing Counter Strike with guys from all around the world.Never thought I would see that online in a console.

Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
All of them but I would have to say the first one I got on COD 2 after that I was addicted to the achievements as I feel it makes gamers come back to finish the game for the points.

Are you currently working toward any achievements?
Trying to finish COD 4 on Veteran but Mile High may never happen as I let this one get to me.

What game(s) are you playing the most now?
Two games now COD 4 and R6:Vegas 2 you have to love them.Cod 4 for gorgeous graphics with a MP to die for, R6 2 all I can say people play together and quit comparing to COD 4 a different game.

What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
Well I’m a country music fanatic but usually a little Randy Travis and Travis Tritt.Some of you may not know them.

Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I love change I’m always changing just as well as my them also.Love the freebies.

What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
Only one site I hang out and drum roll please Unscripted 360 run by Deacon Blade. would recommend if your looking for a community run by someone that cares for the 360 community come and join, stay, make a few friends! No better place to be. As the people are like a big family.

What game are you looking most forward to in 2008?
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventure stands out to me as I have been waiting for a good MMO and have played the beta and if they can get this to play like this on the 360 you will have the first great MMO for the 360.

Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
One game has always stood out for me and Resident Evil was the first time in my life a game has ever made me jump and throw the controller down.

Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
My friend is a real life friend more like a little brother his name since you want to know is The RhymeScheme. Good friend and he plays games the same way as I do meaning no disrespecting people as I feel alot of people need to be more like that on Live

Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Want to thank you for putting me in the spot light was very shocked to say the least. And would have to say if your not a 360 owner get the best thing going as the 360 community is strong and striving and have the greatest gamers in the world.

I couldn’t agree more! The community and the members in it are what make the Xbox 360 my platform of choice. I’ll be following up on that exact sentiment some time in the future!

Safran Digital helps Xbox go Hollywood

It’s all over the inter tubes. I don’t even know what to say, or what to think. Introducing exclusive video content to the Xbox Live Marketplace? It’s going to be tough without a massive marketing rush in advance, and at least a pilot episode being available for free download. And they want these shows to be ad supported (as mentioned in the first article I link to) – but if I buy it from the marketplace, should there be ads? There’s a lot more to be discovered about this recent announcement!