Daily News Spin July 24, 2001 (Tuesday)
CNET announces loss, promises job cuts
CNET, parent company of Gamespot, today announced second quarter
results. From MSNBC:
CNET...today reported net revenues for the second quarter of
$71.1 million, compared to pro forma net revenues of $104.3 million
for the same period of 2000. The company generated an adjusted
EBITDA(1) loss of $15.8 million, versus pro forma adjusted EBITDA
of $5.1 million in the second quarter of 2000. CNET Networks'
adjusted loss, excluding goodwill amortization, business integration
expenses, realized gains (losses) on investments, and income taxes,
was $23.4 million or $0.17 per share, versus a pro forma loss
of $5.0 million or $0.04 per share in the second quarter of 2000.
CNET Networks' net loss in the second quarter of 2001 was $218.1
million, or $1.60 per share, versus a pro forma net loss of $168.0
million or $1.24 per share in the same period last year(2).
The company also announced that it plans to lower its cost structure
going forward, which will result in a reduction of its workforce
by 15 percent during the third quarter.
No word yet on how this affects Gamespot. You may recall that CNET
closed Gamecenter earlier in the year to trim expenses, though we
don't expect that to happen to Gamespot. CNET's stock dropped nearly
5% today as well and closed at $9.65 a share.
Torturing newbies in Majestic
It's the new game! Dessiminate disinformation about the game to
other players. You can download
the first episode now, though you have to give EA a credit card
for age validation purposes. Joystick 101's got a brief write-up,
including this chat transcript (krtsquire is the Joystick writer).
krtsquire:I talked to Lestito -- heard you were a bot
MJLilgui: yeah, I gave him the newbie bit
MJLilgui: If i think someones a newbie, I act vague and suspicious
MJLilgui: Hold on anunn is giving me a hard time. -----------------
krtsquire: Anunn...have you talked to MJLilgui? He knows something
anunn12: I know! But he won't tell anyone.
krtsquire: Ask him about the 'dancing skull'
MJLilgui: whats a dancing skull?
krtsquire: me giving someone a hard time.
MJLilgui: anunn is grilling me for info :-)
anunn12: He says he doesn't know anything about a dancing skull
krtsquire: I knew he'd say that. Keep pressing him. He might be
a bot. Jlowe thinks so. he's hiding something
anunn12: he said he didnt know what im talking about
krtsquire: he told me that, too, but he told jlowe that he had
some sort of a secret web page...
anunn12: he said he didnt say that
krtsquire: You can't trust anyone in this game.
anunn12: i know
Heh. As Joystick 101 adds, stuff like this could be a problem.
This game desing [sic?] does, however, allow the 5% who are "trouble-makers"
(according to Koster) some interesting options for "stirring the
pot." It seems to me that newbie torture will be elevated into
an artform, as newbies are dropped into a game fundamentally about
suspicion and deception -- without much guidance at all. Left
with no real gaming goals, you're free to make up your own, which
as we all know, often tend to gravitate toward the sadistic.
Torn in trouble?
Blue's News is reporting
a rumor that Interplay's Torn has "been put on hold" and
most of the team laid off. Yikes. This ain't good. Interplay may
have the Dungeons and Dragons license yanked out from under them
as well. A competitor, Infogrames, now has the rights to make D&D
Analysts worried about Sony's PS2 profits
CNET's got the story
about concern in the financial sector over the PS2's ability to
boost Sony's profits short-term.
Masahiro Ono, an analyst at UBS Warburg, recently cut his PS2
shipment forecasts for the first quarter from 4.5 million to 3
million units. He also lowered price estimates after the company
announced a price cut on PS2 in the domestic market in late June.
"Even for a strong brand like Sony, if the whole market is sinking,
those with weak brands will cut prices. And as the spread widens
between Sony's premium prices and those of its rivals, it will
have to make discounts to keep share," he said.
Scott Foster, an analyst at Lehman Brothers, noted indications
that the original PlayStation was putting in a relatively strong
sales performance compared with the PlayStation 2 because of its
"That is a big surprise to techies but maybe no surprise to parents,"
Sure, $99 and a libray of $20 games vs. $299 and premium-priced
games. So far no console's ever really taken off until the price
has been cut to under $200. That's why the Gamecube looks like a
safe bet from where we sit.
Death, taxes, and...
Blizzard has delayed Warcraft III until next year, according to
Over the past few weeks, it has become apparent that Warcraft
III: Reign of Chaos will not be complete for release by the end
of 2001. Our development team is hard at work finalizing the product
and we look forward to bringing you an outstanding, real-time
strategy game in 2002.
We wonder if they're polishing or retooling? We were in the minority,
but we weren't impressed with it at E3. The gameplay just wasn't
that much fun from the little we sampled. We're not fans of micromanaging
RTS combat, which is the whole premise behind Warcraft 3. Maybe
people are playing the game at Blizzard and going, "Hmmm...this
isn't as much fun as Blizzard games should be."
Thanks Murph and Dave!
Death and well, just death
Fantasy Death Row is a
website where you can bet on whether criminals will be executed
or have their executions stayed. The Seattle Times has a story
Players can win points and prizes for picking the correct outcome
for an inmate. A pardon is worth 50 points, clemency is 25 points.
There's a 10-point deduction if the inmate is executed, and a
50-point deduction if he is executed and later proved innocent.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Larry Fitzgerald
has witnessed more than 140 executions, spoken with inmates before
they died and gotten to know the men and women on death row. His
verdict on the site: "It makes me want to throw up."
Can a reality-based TV show be too far off? Running Man, oh Running
Man where are you?
Lots of death-related news today, and we even found a unique scythe
while playing Diablo II. Now Avault has a story
about a new game in development that's also a bit bizarre called
The Game of Death. Take it away, Avault!
Add another hopeful contender to the list of upcoming PC games:
Game of Death. Hailing from Burns Entertainment Software in Germany,
Game of Death is a horror-themed action and adventure offering
in which the player battles the most notorious serial killers
of the 20th century. The game’s concept and characters will be
created by film director Joerg Buttgereit, renown worldwide for
delivering cinematic shockfare such as Nekromantik and The Death
In one of these twists that sounds good on paper but we're a bit
dubious about, the player will have to kill the serial killer using
the killer's own preferred method of killing.
Happy birthday to the PC. It
turned 20 yesterday. Any of you remember the old IBM Charlie
Chaplin commercials? Then the ones with the M.A.S.H. stars? Thanks
The LA Times ran an article
last week about the disappearing comic book shops. Worth a read
if you like comics. At the height of the craze, one issue of X-Men
sold 7.1 million copies. Now they sell about 150,000 copies in a
"good month" according to the article.
Microsoft is saying that the Xbox will launch in Japan "not
too far behind the U.S. debut'' in this NY Times story.
Analysts seem to think a March 2002 launch in Japan is more likely.
The Internet cafe scene in China is interesting. Tons have sprung
up for gaming and email, but the authorites have also closed 8000
of them for allowing access to pornography. Of course the authorities
have also suppressed some political discussion groups too. Here's
Adobe is seeking the release of the Russian programmer who was
arrested for creating a program that could be used to circumvent
copyrighted material, namely e-books. This is an about face for
Adobe since the Russian was arrested after they filed a complaint.
There's been something of an outcry and Adobe has now asked that
he be released. Of course, it's not up to them at this point. Here's
about it all.
Here's a breezily written piece
we found amusing about time management services. The lazy writer
even had the time management people write the ending for him, sort
Given today's news emphasis, we'll finish off with a quote from
George Carlin about death:
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean,
life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get
at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life
cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the
way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when
you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work
forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You do drugs, alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school.
You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no
responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the
womb, you spend your last nine months floating... you finish off
as an orgasm.
to read yesterday's news
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