Reports: PSP Go production halted

On paper, the PSP Go seemed like a great idea: A slick portable gaming device that let players download titles digitally without having to visit a retail store.

In reality, though, it hit just about every imaginable stumbling block. As a result, the system failed to catch on with consumers — and now it appears it’s going away for good.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

The Money Making Game #7: GameStop Goes Digital

We certainly have no problem getting caught up in the fun of playing games, but the people who create them have their pocketbooks to worry about, too. In this column, finance expert and GameSpy contributor Chris Morris guides you through the tricky corridors the gaming industry’s financial side, touching on big-time business decisions and how they matter to the common gamer.

The king of the brick-and-mortar gaming world is finally embracing the digital. GameStop’s recent purchases of the Impulse digital distribution service and Spawn Labs streaming service won’t solve all of its problems, but it sets a course for the company as it prepares for the coming transition — and it gives investors some much needed clarity into GameStop management’s long-term thinking.

These days, GameStop sees annual digital revenues of $290 million from video games. As it expands, though, it expects those numbers to hit $1.5 billion by the end of 2014. “Our customers are beginning to consume games in a hybrid manner, both physical and digital, so we are becoming a hybrid company to meet their needs,” says Tony Bartel, president of GameStop. “Both of these programs are designed to sell more of the games we sell today.”

Read more at GameSpy

Electronic Arts Goes ‘On the Offensive’

Electronic Arts hasn’t exactly been a darling of Wall Street in recent years.

Battered by a string of earnings disappointments and underperfoming titles, the video game publisher has seen its archrival Activision-Blizzard take away king-of-the hill status among industry peers, and watched its stock price fall. But Frank Gibeau, the president of the EA Games label, says the company has made the necessary changes to get back on top.


Beatles come to iTunes

Apple has filled one of the biggest holes in the iTunes catalog. The Beatles catalog is now available for download.

After years of teasing, disappointment and back and forth, the Cuppertino-based company (which has become one of the most powerful forces in the music industry) and the iconic band have come to terms. It’s unclear at this time whether Apple secured exclusive digital rights to the band’s songs or if EMI, The Beatles’ record company, will be striking similar deal with other providers.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Interview: CEO Farrell On THQ’s Path Through The Changing Game Landscape

[Gamasutra’s Editor-at-Large Chris Morris spoke to THQ CEO Brian Farrell as the company ramps up its digital distribution business while experimenting with lower price-points for boxed product.]

THQ and the broader video game industry have a lot in common. Both have struggled financially in the past couple of years. Both are seeing their role in the greater entertainment landscape change. And both are seeing the evolution of financial models that have served them well for years.

Leading the charge for those changes at THQ is CEO Brian Farrell. He’s in the unenviable position of leading a company that’s in the midst of what he calls a “turnaround year” – with significant growth not expected to resume until 2012. To get the company to that point, though, he’s throwing out a lot of the industry’s standard practices and he’s raising a few eyebrows in the process.

Read more at Gamasutra

Retail purchases make up just 60 percent of game industry’s total

September’s retail sales numbers for the video game industry might have stunk up the joint something terrible, but there’s one bright spot to be found.

The NPD Group, for the first time, has released a new spending report that incorporates not only retail sales, but used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile game apps.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Activision – and the power of digital

All in all, it was a mixed financial quarter for the folks at Activision. Earnings per share were higher than expected, but revenue fell short – which was somewhat shocking for a company that has a reputation for always meeting or beating the guidance it gives investors. The real story of yesterday’s earnings announcement, though, was the force that digital downloads have become for the company.

For the first time, Activsion’s revenue from digital sales topped that of retail sales, as “Modern Warfare 2” continued to flex is muscles.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Gamers more than ready for ‘Duty’

While most videogame publishers are taking advantage of digital downloads to extend their profits these days, none are doing so as successfully as Activision.

The company on Monday announced that life-to-date sales for downloadable expansions to its “Call of Duty” games have surpassed 20 million units.

Read more at Daily Variety