Week of December 6- December 12, 1999
December 9, 1999]
Two Increases Credit
Take Two has increased its line of credit from $66 million to $100 million
dollars, additional funding that will allow Take Two to continue its rapid
expansion. A deal will Bank of America creates a line of credit allowing
Take Two to borrow from $75 million to $85 million. "Our agreement with
Bank of America gives the domestic divisions of Take-Two a long-term financing
arrangement that will allow our Company to continue to expand its business
through internal growth and acquisition," said Larry Miller, Take Two's
chief financial officer. In Europe, Barclays Bank has granted the company
a credit line worth up to $25 million.
Final Fantasy VIII Sells One Million
Square EA reports more than one million units of Final Fantasy VIII
have sold in North America since its September release on Playstation,
reinforcing the franchise as one of the most successful RPG series ever.
Worldwide, Final Fantasy VIII has sold more that six million copies,
and the Final Fantasy series as a whole has sold in excess of 25 million
units. "Final Fantasy VIII has grossed more than $50 million in
revenue in only 13 weeks of sales in North America," said Square EA's
Jun Iwasaki, "With the holidays still ahead, we anticipate that Final
Fantasy VIII will continue to break sales records."
Though the company isn't scheduled to release its full financials for
the year until February, speculation that Interplay's has at last turned
the corner caused a jump in its stock price. The stock increased by 64
percent earlier in the week on the belief that Interplay's results would
put the company back on firm financial ground. Interplay insists that
the jump could be attributed to speculators noting the company's stock
price amid a strengthening market segment.
Sierra Studio to Publish Throne
Click Entertainment's Throne of Darkness, an upcoming RPG from
Diablo veterans Doron Gartner and Ben Haas, will be published by
Sierra Studio. The title had previously been scheduled to be published
by Acclaim, but that company decided to back out as part of its plan to
focus on console titles. "We signed with Studios because we share a common
goal, to make games that are innovative, fun, extremely polished and totally
accessible," said Click Entertainment President Doron Gartner. The game
is slated for release in the second half of 2000.
December 8, 1999]
Samsung Electronics will be the first to incorporate VM Labs's NUON technology
in a retail DVD player. The game enabled DVD player is being positioned
as a family fun center, and Samsung is projecting six family friendly
game titles will be available in time for the DVD-N2000's launch in the
first quarter of 2000. "Today's DVD players have great graphics...but
with NUON, you get a total entertainment system packed with fun interactive
activities and capabilities," said VM Labs CEO Richard Miller. In addition
to playing games, the system contains a host of new playback features
including a twenty-time zoom. Ports are available for connecting joystick
and keyboard, and future NUON features should include Internet access
and web enhanced movies.
Interplay Distributes Blue Byte
Interplay will handle North American distribution of at least the next
four Blue Byte PC titles. A new agreement between the two companies gives
Interplay exclusive North American distribution rights to Blue Byte's
Settlers 4, Battle Isle 4, Dragons Lair 3D, and Stephen King's
F 13. "Blue Byte is poised to grow tremendously within the coming
year and with Interplay, I am convinced we have found that partner [we
need] and think we have the makings of a very successful relationship,"
said Blue Byte's Mark Hall.
2000 Line Up
The Miller Freeman Game Group has announced the speaker line up for the
Game Developers Conference 2000. Among
the more than 200 lectures, seminars, roundtables and tutorials are standout
sessions by Yu Suzuki and Yuji Naka from Sega of Japan, Phil Harrison
of Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Randy Thom and Doug Chiang
of Lucasfilm. Hasbro Interactive's Tom Dusenberry will present this year's
keynote address. "The industry pioneers involved with the conference and
advanced sessions are pushing the envelope with creativity and vision
that will solidify games as the dominant entertainment platform of the
21st Century," says GDC Director Jennifer Pahlka. The conference runs
from March 8-12.
Data's Top Ten
PC Data has released its list of the top ten best selling games for the
week of November 21-27.
1. MP Roller Coaster Tycoon, Hasbro Interactive
2. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Disney
3. Microsoft Age of Empires II: Age Of Kings, Microsoft
4. Deer Hunter III, GT Interactive
5. Barbie Generation Girl Gotta Groove, Mattel Interactive
6. Unreal Tournament, GT Interactive
7. Sim City 3000, Electronic Arts
8. Cabela's Big Game Hunter 3, Activision
9. Microsoft Flight Simulator, Microsoft
10. Family Favorites Game Pack, Hasbro Interactive
December 7, 1999]
The Computer Game Developers Association is gearing up for its annual
Board of Directors elections. The non-profit group has announced a call
for nominations to fill three board positions for the year 2000. To be
eligible to serve, potential candidates should nominate themselves and
must have been members of the association for at least one year. Those
looking to nominate themselves should send contact information and a 400
word candidate statement to the CGDA
by December 23.
An article in the multimedia section of Entertainment Weekly's December
10 issue names Gathering of Developers as one of the top ten electronic
entertainment companies of the next millenium. The article recognized
the Gather for it unique approach to game publishing and for its artist
dominated board. "Entertainment Weekly always has its finger on the pulse
of the Entertainment world. Its recognition of The Gathering as a visionary
for the new millennium is an incredible validation of our progressive
business model," said GOD president Henry Miller.
With profits from games and interactive toys outpacing returns from traditional
toys, the world's second largest toy makers has announced restructuring
plans aimed at expanding it's technology potential. Hasbro will cut over
2000 jobs as part of the restructuring, most of them in manufacturing
as the company shutters factories in Mexico and the United Kingdom. Also
closing are facilities in Alameda and Chapel Hill as the company cancel
the Falcon series and moves out of the flight simulator market.
"Falcon 4 has done reasonably well for us, but it's a niche
market," said Habro Interactive PR director Laura Tomasetti. The moves
are expected to save the company $16 million next year and $23 million
in subsequent years. Hasbro is also launching and $500 million stock repurchasing
IEMA Board Named
The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association has named its first
board of directors. Founding board members include Jeff Griffiths of Electronics
Boutique, Mike Gimlett of eToys.com, John Sullivan of Toys R Us, Bill
Kerr of Wal-Mart, Ed Sturr of Fry's Electronics, Jim Mackenzie of Kay
Bee Toys, Steve Boyea of Shopko Stores, and Robert DeVere of Wherehouse
Entertainment. The IEMA represents 28 of the top 30 game retailers in
the North America. "Prior to the formation of the IEMA, the manufacturers
had to speak on our behalf, and while our goals and challenges remain
similar, they are also different. The growth and maturing of the interactive
entertainment industry necessitated this move," said EB's Jeff Griffiths.
Provides For WB
iEntertainment has entered into a deal to provide interactive entertainment
content for Warner Brothers Online's Entertaindom website. The agreement
has iEN providing contests and promotions as well as a series of exclusive
original games. The deal gives iEntertainment access to Warner's Entertaindom
members for promotion to iEN content and allows iEN to link to premiums
service games like Warbirds and Dawn of Aces. Warner Brothers
Online will also promote iEntertainments services on it other sites.
December 6, 1999]
In an effort to secure its place with Linux users, 3dfx has decided to
make its Glide API open source. The company is also releasing the hardware
specifications for all of its currently available 3D hardware accelerators.
The company hopes that making Glide open source will lead to improved
drivers and increased user base on non-windows platforms. "The release
of the API and the hardware specifications allows for rapid tailoring
of drivers and applications for 3dfx products to suit a variety of platform
needs. This leadership move substantially enhances our ability to become
the standard for cross-platform 3D hardware," said 3dfx vice president
and CTO Scott Sellers. Linux developers welcomed the news, "With the Open
Source release of FXT1 texture compression in August followed by today's
announcement of Open Source Glide and hardware specifications, Red Hat
sees a real commitment from 3dfx to become the leading 3D hardware platform
for Linux-based Oses," said Red Hat director of engineering Erik Troan.
70 Million Playstations
Sony Computer Entertainment announced that Playstation has reached an
impressive new milestone. World wide, the Playstation has shipped an astounding
70 million machines. In the five years since its birth the Playstation
has shipped nearly 17 million units in Japan, 26 million in the North
America, and an additional 27 million in Europe.
Desperate parents in search of a new Dreamcast for under the Christmas
tree are getting a little help this year. Sega and AT&T; Worldnet, Dreamcast's
online provider of choice, have teamed up to create a toll free number
that will direct potential purchasers to their nearest Dreamcast retailer.
Called the Sega Dreamcast Parents Helpline, the service also dispenses
tips on buying Dreamcast games and peripherals. "New shipments of Sega
Dreamcast are arriving in North America every day to try to meet the massive
demand. With the holiday rush upon us, we felt it was best to offer some
assistance to help consumers find those Sega Dreamcast systems,"
said Sega's Chris Gilbert.
Data's Top Selling Game Websites
PC Data has released its list of top selling online gaming websites for
the week of November 21-27. Percentages reflect the share of the total
web audience reached by the site.
. uproar.com 5.59%
2 . gamesville.com 5.47%
3 . prizecentral.com 4.89%
4 . zone.com 2.78%
5 . virtualvegas.com 2.54%
6 . ign.com 2.31%
7 . gamespot.com 2.02%
8 . gamecenter.com 1.52%
9 . won.net 1.33%
10 . cheatcc.com 1.22%