Analysis: Nintendo Clears A Path For Apple To Take The Lead?

It was pretty hard to find anyone who liked Nintendo Wednesday afternoon.

Loyal fans were upset to learn they’d have to wait longer than expected for the 3DS. Nintendo investors were ticked that the company abruptly changed its fiscal 2011 earnings guidance. And shareholders of other publishers were annoyed, since Nintendo’s woes brought the entire gaming sector down on Wall St.

But the party was going strong at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, Calif.

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Opinion: Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry

[In this Gamasutra editorial, editor-at-large and veteran game journalist Chris Morris looks at the escalating war of words between Electronic Arts and Activision – and the detrimental effects the dustup can have on the video game industry.]

There’s a reason politicians are so despised in this country. One party spends so much time squabbling over disagreements with the other party that everyone’s focus on their main job – ensuring the smooth running of the country – falls by the wayside.

It’s only fitting, then, that as the midterm elections near, the two biggest parties in the video game industry have decided to express their mutual loathing towards each other.

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Analysis: Is Microsoft Putting Halo At Risk?

[What’s the right balance between quality and release spacing for theHalo franchise, pre- and post-Bungie? Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris examines how other franchises have been affected by more regular iteration.]

Within four days of its release, fans spend the equivalent of over 2,300 man-years playing Halo: Reach. While Bungie’s sendoff to its most famous franchise is certainly a resounding success, though, the long-term fate of Halo is starting to become more questionable.

On Wednesday, Microsoft corporate VP Phil Spencer told IGN that the company is looking to increase the frequency of Halo releases.

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Analysis: The Vast Wonderland Of Once-Great Games

[Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris examines the “shaky steps” of the game industry to ensure long-term access and viability for older games, amid controversy over a GOG.com shift.]

Game industry enthusiasts take an odd joy in pointing out that retail sales for this industry now regularly beat the annual Hollywood box office receipts. It’s a fun headline that makes it look like games are winning the culture war – assuming you resist that urge to scratch the surface.

The reality, of course, is that Hollywood smokes games when you compare apples to apples. Movies don’t disappear once their theatrical run ends. There are pay-per-view revenues, DVD and Blu-ray sales (both the original release and the inevitable director’s cut), initial network rights, syndicated network rights and more. Games? Well, they tend to disappear after a brief stay on retail shelves.

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Opinion: PlayStation Move – Between A Rock And A Hard Place?

[As Sony’s PlayStation Move launches this weekend, Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris gathers his thoughts about the debut of the PS3’s motion control device, and the intuitiveness and needle-threading it requires to satisfy all parties.]

A little over a week ago, my wife fell asleep early when we were watching TV. I knew if I played Halo: Reach, it would likely get too loud, wake her up and I’d be in the doghouse for the rest of the weekend, so I figured this would be a good time to do some testing with the new motion control device for the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Move.

I had just set things up and was turning the system on when she woke up. She looked over at me, got a confused look on her face and asked, “Are you holding a vibrator?”

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Analysis: The Coming Battle – Game Console Makers Vs. Cable Companies

The relationship between console makers and cable companies can be a dicey one. Both compete for consumer eyeballs in the living room – and dip their toes in the other’s waters from time to time – but have avoided any sort of direct battle so far. Were they to square off, the brawl would likely be an epic one.

It might be time to start looking for ringside seats.

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Analysis: Are Long Development Times Worth The Money?

[In this Gamasutra editorial, editor-at-large Chris Morris looks at Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption and its much-delayed development cycle, examining whether taking your time in completing development on your game makes creative and business sense.]

Before Red Dead Redemption became the year’s best-selling console title to date (and an earnings savior), Take-Two Interactive Software took a lot of heat over the game’s five-year development span.

To be fair, it seemed legitimate at the time. Take-Two (and especially its Rockstar division) has never been the speediest of companies when it comes to getting games on store shelves.

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In-Depth: Pitchford On How Gearbox Got To Own Duke Nukem Franchise

On Friday morning, Gearbox Software and 2K Games dropped a bomb on gamers and industry alike at Seattle’s Penny Arcade Expo. Not only was Duke Nukem Forever alive once again, it was playable. On Sunday, they dropped another one.

3D Realms, the company that gave birth to the cigar chompin’, alien ass-kicking muscleman, had sold the rights to Gearbox. The story behind that is nearly as winding as Duke’s march to retail has been.

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In-Depth: The Fragile Existence Of Online Worlds

[Gamasutra’s new editor-at-large Chris Morris examines the curiously abrupt end of Acclaim’s 9Dragons, which stranded 1.5 million U.S. players — when a game struggles in the high-risk MMO market, the players end up losing out, too.]

Nobody saw the end coming for 9Dragons – especially the players.

A post in the game’s Acclaim-operated forums, which went up just hours before the U.S. servers shut down, was the only official notification.

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(Client update) Gamasutra joins the fold

Just a heads up that I’ve added Gamasutra.com to my client roster. I’ll be acting as an editor at large for the site, contributing a couple of stories each week that dig beyond the headlines and look at the business side of gaming.

Further details – along with other recent staff moves and news of a new traffic milestone at the site – can be found at Gamasutra