PS4, Xbox One take painful body blow from Watch Dogs delay

Chris watchdogsMorris looks at the ramifications of Ubisoft’s last-minute delay of one of the hottest new IPs in the industry

Nintendo will be the first company to tell you about the importance of must-have titles at a console launch. The more you have, the better – as it not only increases the initial frenzy (attracting the wandering eye of the mass media), but keeps demand alive long after Christmas has come and gone.

With Ubisoft’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be delaying Watch Dogs until Spring 2014, both Microsoft and Sony saw their new systems take a painful body blow.

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Rockstar Games: Time for new IP?

GTA V Rockstaris a smashing success, but what’s next for Rockstar? Chris Morris examines the possibilities

With Grand Theft Auto V shattering entertainment industry sales records, the Houser Brothers and the team at Rockstar Games have once again justified the freedom and independence Take-Two affords them.

They’ve also got the gaming world wondering what they’ll do next.

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Inside PS4’s new VR headset

Three sonyVRheadsetmonths ago, Sony made a big splash at E3 touting the PlayStation 4 to the world. At the same time, though, it was already laying the groundwork for another notable consumer technology venture.

As media and buyers got hands on time with the upcoming console and debated the WWE-like theatrics of the Sony and Microsoft press conferences, the company was holding top secret meetings with developers and publishers, showing off a virtual reality headset for the PS4 and drumming up support for it.

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Xbox One: Julie-Larson Green May Fit In Just Fine

Gamers larson-green– and the games media – hate the unknown. They thrive in a biosphere where leaks pre-announce major moves and no one is all that surprised when its made official.

That’s what made Microsoft’s decision to replace Don Mattrick with Julie Larson-Green so frustrating for some. She was, to many, an unknown. And that quickly led some to question her qualifications, which eventually led to prophecies of doom for the Xbox in some forums.

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Does Nintendo stand a chance this holiday?

Let’s nintendo woesget this out of the way up front. Yes, you never, ever count Nintendo out of the game.

That’s the go-to response for pretty much anyone in this industry when asked if the company will be able to dig itself out of the hole the Wii U has created – and it’s usually a valid one. (Think back to the GameCube days and things were just as dire as they seem today – but it managed to turn things around.)

But as we head into the Wii U’s second holiday season, the pessimism about the system is starting to crest. And despite Nintendo’s push of first party software coming in the next year, there’s nothing to suggest that a turnaround of any sort is imminent.

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Nintendo: Our digital sales are soaring

Last reggie fils-aimeAugust, Nintendo began to more fully embrace digital distribution as a way to get games in people’s hands – a notable shift for a company that had previously stayed an arm’s distance from the online world.

The experiment is paying off. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, says digital downloads are fast becoming a notable contributor to the company’s bottom line – and he expects the trend to continue its rapid rise.

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Xbox always-online: Maybe it’s not so terrible

Chris xbox 360Morris explains that having a big company like Microsoft step up could make always-online more palatable for next-gen

Will the next Xbox continue the reign of success Microsoft has seen this generation or will it stumble Sony-style, losing momentum at a critical junction for console systems? The answer could lie in a single feature.

Kotaku recently reignited the rumor about the next Xbox requiring a constant connection to the Internet – and Microsoft Studios’ creative director did nothing to put out that growing brushfire with his Twitter fiasco last week.

Will the next generation Xbox require an ‘always-on’ connection? There’s nothing to base that on right now except for rumors and the echo chamber of the Internet. But, for the sake of argument alone, let’s say that is an upcoming feature. Is it as bad as it seems?

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EA’s hot seat: Who will be the next CEO?

Chris EA HQMorris examines six viable replacements for Riccitiello and handicaps the candidates

As the shock begins to wear off over John Riccitiello’s sudden departure from EA, investors, staffers and gamers are starting to look down the road.

JR’s reign at what was once the industry’s preeminent publisher was an uneven affair, with many well-publicized follies, but with plenty of victories as well. More importantly, he was a CEO who wasn’t afraid to gamble – and even if those bets didn’t always work out (like Brutal Legend and Mirror’s Edge), gamers appreciated the risk taken on new IP.

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PS4: What Sony needs to win next-gen

Columnist PS4Chris Morris looks at opportunities and potential pitfalls for Sony in the upcoming console battle.

In just under two weeks, we’ll know a lot more about the PlayStation 4 than we do right now- well, in theory.

The truth is: The leaks about the PS4 have been coming fast and furious lately. And people with knowledge of the system (but who are still abiding by the NDA) indicate that there’s a lot of accuracy in the recent reports. For the sake of argument, let’s assume for the moment that the whispers are right. Given what we think we know, what things about the PS4 can put it in a leadership position in the next generation – and what things could turn it into the next Vita?

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Valve: Biggest threat to the next generation?

Chris steamboxMorris argues that a Steam Box could make life difficult for Microsoft and Sony in the next couple years

With Nintendo having launched its next generation system and Microsoft and Sony waiting in the wings, plenty of analysts, observers and thumb-suckers are rubbing their worry beads about the impact of mobile and tablet gaming.

The PC is mentioned in passing, though few believe it will be a viable threat, due to the challenges that come with different hardware specifications. They also note that things like driver updates and the perception of more frequent component updates can be intimidating for the mass audience. But if the recent whispers of Valve’s plans to launch a game hardware system prove true, that could upend the playing field.

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