What the…? Martha Stewart: The video game

That headline wasn’t a typo. Martha Stewart Omnimedia and Majesco Entertainment have partnered up to bring the doyenne of domestic duties to the video game space.

“Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offers a vast wealth of content and has a passionate following. Branching into the interactive entertainment space is a natural next step,” said Jesse Sutton, CEO of Majesco Entertainment in a statement.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Atari founder returns to his roots

Nolan Bushnell, the man who founded Atari in 1972 and was booted from it six years later, is back again. Atari has named Bushnell to its board of directors and said it hopes to lean on him to help with the company’s future planning.

It’s a move that might bring a smile to gaming historians, but could once again raise questions about the company’s future. Bushnell, while unquestionably a visionary in the video game space, has not been a major part of the mainstream gaming world for years. And his appointment comes as two well-respected industry veterans sever their ties with the company.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene blog

Virtual horse nets Blizzard potential $3.5 million (or more) – in 24 hours

When Blizzard Entertainment put the “Celestian Steed” mount up for sale in its “World of Warcraft” store Thursday, it was quite clear: The virtual horse wouldn’t give players any new abilities; it would only give them a new way to get around the game world. And the speed would depend on their character’s skill level.

Users didn’t care. Within four hours, the queue to buy one was 80,000 people long. Before the day was out, the queue numbered over 140,000 – with an average wait time of seven hours. The virtual pet carried a price tag of $25 – meaning Blizzard could earn more than $3.5 million in less than a day via microtransactions.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene.

Will the last person at Infinity War please turn out the lights?

We’ve covered the problems at Activision since the abrupt firing of Jason West and Vince Zampella fairly regularly. And since Monday’s news that the duo had started a new development house and aligned themselves with Electronic Arts,  the exodus of talent at their old studio Infinity Ward has gone from a trickle to a steady stream.

Most of the design leads from “Modern Warfare 2” have departed at this point (though none have formally been announced as employees of West and Zampella’s Respawn Entertainment yet). Running a list of names that most people haven’t heard of before this mess doesn’t effectively show the exodus, but the team at PC Gamer UK have found a good way to do so.

Read more at Variety’s The Cut Scene

Video game sales turn the corner in March

Finally! After a year that has seen only one sales-positive month, video games rebounded in March, with a 10 percent jump in software sales.

Hardware sales were a less happy story, in part due to shortages at retail. Overall, though, the industry was up 6 percent, compared to March 2009. And analysts expect the remainder of the year to show more signs of life, as the year-over-year comparisons get a lot easier.

Read more (and see complete sales data) at Variety’s The Cut Scene