The Last Word: July 10-14

The week that was sees Microsoft get its Xbox Live Arcade act together, Sony back off of its controversial PSP ad campaign, and EA drop a bombshell with Team Fortress 2.

by

Sparks were flying left and right in the gaming world this week right from the word "go." On Monday, controversial publisher Take-Two Interactive announced that it was being investigated once again by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Esquire author Chuck Klosterman discussed his controversial article about the absence of a Lester Bangs figure in gaming journalism, and controversial developer John Romero unveiled his new development studio, Slipgate Ironworks. Just about the only things that didn't spark controversy on Monday were industry analyst expectations that June would turn out to be another down month for industry sales.

Tuesday was all about companies trying to cool some heads. Microsoft addressed the clamor of Xbox 360 players' ongoing demands for more Xbox Live Arcade games by announcing its Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays program, which saw the release of Frogger this week and will see a new Arcade game made available each Wednesday from now until August 9.

Meanwhile, Sony announced that it had pulled an ad campaign in the Netherlands for its white PlayStation Portable model. One ad in the campaign featured a white woman menacingly holding a black woman and drew condemnation from a California politician and a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In ceasing the ad campaign, Sony also apologized to anyone who might have been offended by it.

Things heated up again Wednesday, as Epic Games' Mark Rein made headlines with a keynote at the UK Develop conference, wherein he called the current episodic-content trend a business model doomed to fail. Meanwhile, friction from the past came to light, as a Sega-16 interview with former Sega of America president Tom Kalinske saw the executive reveal that at one point, he was trying to get Sega and Sony to work together on a gaming console. However, his superiors at parent company Sega of Japan would not hear of such a partnership, and the rest is bitter, bitter history for Sega fans.

On Thursday, almost as if in response to Rein's assertion the day before, Valve Software dropped a bomb on the gaming world. The company announced at Electronic Arts' summer media event that the long-MIA Team Fortress 2 was alive and well and would be included in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. What's more, Episode Two would be coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the same time as the PC version of the game, and the console editions would include the entire Half-Life 2 saga to date.

In more contentious news on Thursday, GameSpot reported on a recent lawsuit brought against Sony by Agere Systems for numerous alleged patent violations. Legal action was also being considered this week by Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman. The mayor isn't happy about Ubisoft's upcoming tactical shooter Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, which sees his town overrun with terrorist scum who probably plunder the buffet table and scam comped drinks by working the penny slots for hours on end.

And while NPD's week-ending release of its figures for June game sales weren't intended to be contentious in any way, one couldn't help but notice how they flew in the face of Monday's analyst expectations. Where a drop of 4 percent to 16 percent in sales compared to June 2005 had been expected, NPD's figures instead put the month's take at a 25 percent year-over-year gain. While the 600,000 units of the newly released Nintendo DS Lite helped push the figure to that mark, game-software sales were up 15 percent on their own, providing a welcome bit of good news to cap a week full of friction.

MONDAY
Analysts predict June gloom for games
Q&A: Chuck Klosterman answers critics
Romero forges Slipgate Ironworks
Microsoft launching Argo into portable space
SEC takes on Take-Two...again

TUESDAY
$10 Street Fighter II coming to Xbox Live August 2
Sony pulls controversial PSP ads
Call of Duty 3 debriefed
EverQuest to grow Serpent's Spine
Retail Radar: Godfather: Mob Wars, Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff

WEDNESDAY
Q&A: Mark Rein steals thunder at Develop
Confirmed: No Quake Wars in 2006
Q&A: XBL's Aaron Greenberg
Sega shot down joint Sony console
Jaffe hints at God of War 3

THURSDAY
360, PS3 Half-Life 2 top EA's Summer Showcase
Ubisoft gets Driver's license
Sony slapped with another patent suit
Vegas mayor craps out on Rainbow Six
White Council convening on 360, PS3, and PC

FRIDAY
Treyarch has 007's next-gen number
NPD: Sales up 25 percent in June, 4 percent in 2006
Q&A: Everybody's Tennis devs
Madden confirmed for Canton

RUMORS OF THE WEEK
Burton's Grim Fandango and Denzel in Halo?
Microsoft portable dubbed "Zune," won't game?
New 360s to be HDMI-compatible?

RELEASES
Shippin' Out July 10-14: Prey vs. Chromehounds

CHARTS
US console sales charts: July 2-8
US PC game charts: June 25-July 1
UK game charts: July 2-8
Japan game charts: July 3-9

Discussion

34 comments
fish3
fish3

I hate Mondays.... Must...Resist...DDR.... DDR TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ymcop
ymcop

Hey GS, give me some new, is there any holiday more ?

cybergooch
cybergooch

$200 console? AHEM, it's puff-puff-PASS - stop screwing up the rotation! You're high if you think the Wii will come out at anything less than $249.

mrblah00
mrblah00

What does this article have to do with Grim Fandango? I clicked it thinking there was news that involved Grim Fandango and well.... now Im confused.

taboo
taboo

Hm? They're pulling the White is Coming advertisement campaign? How sad, those were some fun images to make avatars out of.

UnnDunn
UnnDunn

Blazer88 said [QUOTE] "EA drop a bombshell with Team Fortress 2" EA makes Team Fortress 2? I thought it was like Valve.EA recently entered into a publishing agreement with Valve. after Valve finally got itself out of its former deal with Vivendi Universal Games.

magnolio369
magnolio369

thanks for that update! (LOL open bar, DDR LOL)

TheUnknownGamer
TheUnknownGamer

I think it has gone unnoticed (or insufficiently covered) the fact that Nintendo DS lite is having a strong impact in the US market. In an industry where word of mouth and credibility is so important, Nintendo is well positioned to have a strong launch for the Wii. I think it only needs to begin a strong marketing campaing NOW to be finished with an incredible annoucement of a $200 console in September and a launch date of mid-October.

DeltaX_basic
DeltaX_basic

So when will i see miy magc pony. YAY! :) LOL

Air-Hendrix
Air-Hendrix

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Blazer88
Blazer88

[QUOTE] "EA drop a bombshell with Team Fortress 2" EA makes Team Fortress 2? I thought it was like Valve.

Phylyn5151
Phylyn5151

LOL I was just kidding, I swear! I will prove to all of you how bad at it I am!

Tjr41991
Tjr41991

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

metdevthegamer
metdevthegamer

Finally you show the other pictures in the Sony campaign, after a good number of people have been asking for them to be displayed alongside the first picture for a while. Though it's too late now. Glad sales were up for June, and also glad the DS Lite was around to do so. Poor Sony, another patent lawsuit. Since E3, most of what they've been getting is negative reactions. Overall, decent week. shasam712 said: "Two words....."open bar" I could go for one of those right now, and some DDR... " Same here.

Bio_Spark
Bio_Spark

Quite a busy week! I'd say Microsoft has won the award for most good PR choices. Has Nintendo done anything this week? They must be scheming up something pretty nice.

decebal
decebal

WOW. JUST WOW! EA drop a bombshell with........................ you won't belive this.......................... ANOTHER SEQUEL! WOW! Impresive. Or more like, SAD! "What Is DDR?" "DDR = Dance Dance Wii" LOL! Noobs!

shasam712
shasam712

Two words....."open bar" I could go for one of those right now, and some DDR...

hemakm3
hemakm3

Another week of interesting news about all 3 gaming companies

anamnawshad
anamnawshad

Love these guys for being so funny! :)

Ponsardin
Ponsardin

Wow, acronymes can bring many confusion.

sunrire
sunrire

Phylyn5151 Whats DDR? Posted Jul 14, 2006 7:41 pm PT Dance Dance Revolution or Dance Dance Wii What ever

jared81799
jared81799

it was a Microsoft fanboi week. very entertaining and funny forum posts.

gamepunk86
gamepunk86

hahahaha, man they should be regulars. they're so friggin' funny. actually, everyone on gamespot is pretty funny but these guys, man....funny stuff, funny stuff

srraven
srraven

I love the last word,was a lot to talk about this week also.

00ooPolarisoo00
00ooPolarisoo00

"New 360s to be HDMI-compatible?" umm that better be a rumor...d*** it if not it better be able to upgrade the older ones

sunrire
sunrire

Nice job DDR TIME!!!!