Daily News Spin — May 31, 2001 (Thursday)


Ion Storm in Dallas shutting down?

Shacknews is reporting on a rumor that Eidos is shutting them down today. Anachronox is apparently going to duplication.

According to very reliable sources close to ION Storm, ION Storm Dallas is shutting down today. Eidos apparently didn't feel like spending more money on the game development company of John Romero and Tom Hall.

This isn't the first time Ion Storm in Dallas has been rumored to be closing.

Update: Avault talked to Romero and confirmed that Eidos is going to shut down the Dallas offices, but no date is set. Romero also said Anachronox is not finished yet. Ion Storm's Austin offices will be unaffected. That's where Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2 are being developed.

Update #2: Avault has removed their original story and posted a new story that essentially says they have no idea what's going on. It would have been nice if they had left the original story up and just added new information, but that's not how they handled it.


Eidos loses Lara's shirt

Ok, enough with the sophmoric jokes. Eidos is in trouble, according to this CTW newsflash we received via email:

Eidos reports 96.4 million loss for 00/01 Eidos Plc has released its financial results for the year ending March 31st 2001, revealing a pre-tax loss of 96.4 million - a massive drop from the profit of 49.3 million reported for the previous year.

And:

The company blamed a depressed level of demand for entertainment software due to consumers awaiting next generation consoles and increased pressure on publisher margins for the losses. It also fingered the decision to defer certain title launches (e.g. Project Eden, Herdy Gerdy, Startopia, Commandos 2) to the 01/02 financial year as a contributing factor.


Combat Command 2 gold

Shrapnel Software announced that Combat Command 2 is gold.

Combat Command 2: Desert Rats! covers the full spectrum of grand tactical desert warfare, from wild armored clashes ranging across the burning sands of Libya, to gritty, bare knuckles infantry combat in the rugged hills of Tunisia. Desert Rats! allows you to fight the battles that made the Afrika Korps famous and provided the Allies their trial by fire!


Lineage numbers

Lineage, the Korean MMORPG that Richard Garriott claims is the best MMORPG available today, claims a large user base, according to this Korean Herald story:

As of March, Lineage had 12 million members, and recorded over 110,000 concurrent users in Korea alone, setting a new record in the world's game industry. "The fact that Lineage has gained a record-breaking popularity and was highly acclaimed proves the potential of its global leap," said a company official.

Twelve million members seems like a lot, so what are their profits like?

Founded in 1997, NCsoft earned 24.2 billion won in net profit on 58.2 billion won in revenue in 2000. The revenue was up a whopping 628 percent, and net profit was up 675 percent from the previous year, the Kosdaq-listed venture firm said.

That's a lot of won. What's a won worth these days? Try 0.000780640 USD. So NCsoft made 18,735,361 USD in profit, which is pretty impressive. You'll also note that the 12 million members seem to be generating about $1.50 of profit each annually for NCsoft, which makes us wonder about the real number of active Lineage players?

By the way, Garriott made his claim about Lineage after his new company was purchased by NCSoft, just to put his comments in perspective.


Children of America, play more videogames!

The New York Times has an article about the CycleFX Game Rider and Game Rider Directcontrol, a setup that allows players to play PSX racing games by pedaling a stationary bicycle.

But while they play, says Mr. Nusbaum, the president of Hollywood Engineering, they should be pedaling stationary bicycles that his company has modified to act as controllers for Sony PlayStations.

"With this," he said, "we can keep a kid on a bike for 30 to 40 minutes, sweating and having a great workout."


Children of America, we take it back!

It's like something out of a bad science fiction novel. Mad Catz, who must be truly mad, are working on the Bioforce, a feedback device that gives the player an electric shock when he or she is fragged. The New York Times has the story.

A prototype of the Bioforce controller that was recently demonstrated with a combat game on a PlayStation 2 console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a game-industry trade show in Los Angeles, included wire electrodes taped to players' forearms. A button lets players moderate the current the controller administers when a player's game character is struck by an opponent.

At the lowest setting the shock generally feels like little more than a mild tingle, but at its highest setting the controller can deliver a stronger shock, one that can make a player's muscles twitch. A series of stronger shocks in quick succession can even make a player drop the controller.

It all starts out as fun, until someone is shocked into cardiac arrest. Maybe some good can come of this technology, though. Maybe this device can be adapted to shock the Bush daughters every time they reach for a beer.


Indie game developers

IGN takes a look at what it takes for independant game developers to make it in this publishing world dominated by behemoths.

Traditional game development models have evolved over the last couple of years and more closely resemble that of the movie or television industries. Where a company like Electronic Arts would have once crafted a game, say John Madden Football for example, utilizing an internal team of artists, programmers and designers, they are now more likely to work outside of the organization in partnership with an external software development house, contracted to be responsible for the bulk of creative development.


Undying anything but

Voodoo Extreme has published a brief note from the game's producer Brady "OJ" Bell who puts out the word that the PS2 port has been cancelled and that any future PC games based around Undying are dead as well.

And your suspicions are correct, the Undying franchise is dead. Reviews and player support were awesome, but the sales sucked. I and the whole PC team are heartbroken, but we're moving on. No choice.

Too bad. At least half the Quarter to Three staff liked Undying.


3am

GameSpyDaily posted that Arcanum is shipping a bit earlier than previously announced. It's now scheduled for August 21.

900 year old wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper is lending his name to an online wrestling game being made by Kellog Creek Software, makers of SpiritWars, a collectible card online game.

We missed this one. A TV series based on Majestic may be in the works.

Is the Loch Ness Monster a car bumper? Possibly, according to this story in The Scotsman.

The Filthy Critic looks at Pearl Harbor and finds it wanting, to say the least:

With uncanny skill, Affleck once again inhabits space without being matter. He's as stiff as they come, and in many scenes, you can see what a bad actor does when he's trying too hard: he squints - a lot. Hartnett might be a better actor, and I'm sure the girls think his beady eyes and tiny mouth are dreamy, but writer Randall Wallace asks him to vomit up dialog as foul and clumped as the hair-trap in a YWCA bathroom. Beckinsale looks kind of pretty, but the kind of pretty you see in sweater catalogs, not the kind of pretty that looks like she would give you a good blowjob, or even like sex. And all she does in Pearl Harbor is get dewy-eyed about Affleck and model vintage clothes. I'd rather spend two hours getting my ass kicked by the teenagers who break bottles in the Conoco parking lot. Just by busting glass they prove to have more personality.

Man, that guy's filthy!


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