Welcome to the new Friday home of the Weekly Dish. We're keeping the news fresher by reporting before the weekend from now on. Let's dive in by talking about this week's big industry buyout.
I'll Buy That for a Billion
Amidst a flurry of rumor and shock-and-awe reporting, Electronic Arts is busy acquiring casual games giant PopCap Games for a price that is reportedly over a billion dollars. EA doesn't exactly throw that kind of money around casually; according to TechCrunch, the company's market cap is 7.49 billion.
EA has been trying to get a bigger piece of the casual gaming pie for years, having acquired casual game site Pogo.com way back in 2001 and social gaming company Playfish in 2009. Owning the creator of Bejewed, Peggle, and Plants vs. Zombies is a pretty big coup for EA, assuming PopCap can live up to the high price it's commanding. It's a challenging time for PopCap, as the burgeoning smartphone market means it has a lot of casual gaming competition available at very low prices. Can PopCap continue its formula of success by turning out one mega-hit game every few years? EA appears to be betting that it can.
Dorm Room Flailing Now Available
Not that bizarre activity in dorms and one-room apartments is unusual, but accessory maker Nyko hopes to give the residents of these small spaces an excuse to flail wildly. One of the lesser-reported stories of E3 is that Nyko's Zoom for Kinect accessory was available for demonstration at the show, and apparently performed rather well.
The Zoom snaps onto the Kinect's array and allows players to stand far closer to the TV screen than they can while playing the Kinect out of the box. A single player generally needs to stand about six feet from the screen while playing Kinect, and the Zoom reduces that space by around forty percent. Two players can play using the Zoom at around that six foot mark, which is only suitable for one player without the Zoom. Journalists who tried the Zoom at E3 reported that it appeared to work as advertised, allowing for closer play without unusual input lag, though pictures taken close up appeared a bit odd. The accessory could be a good solution for people with small living spaces who are interested in getting a Kinect.
No Backwards Compatibility for New PS3 Models
You may have heard that an upcoming version of the PlayStation 3 will feature backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 2, as was reported by various outlets earlier this week. Unfortunately, those reports were due to a translation error, and are not true. The next version of the PlayStation 3 will not be backwards compatible, and there is no indication that Sony has plans to re-enable backwards compatibility (found in the earliest PS3s but removed from later models) in any future models.
They'll Go to Eleven! No, Actually, Just Ten
This week, gaming luminary John Carmack (co-founder of id Software and programmer on projects like Doom and Quake) told Eurogamer that he believes next generation's consoles are coming in the next two years, and that they'll be around ten times more powerful than this generation's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Carmack's main point wasn't about the power of the new consoles, however, as much as about the diminishing returns on graphical improvements. He believes that the capabilities of the next generation will be good enough that it will be difficult to sell the generation after it on better graphics and more horsepower alone.
Of course, the major console companies are well aware of this fact, hence the increasing addition of multimedia capabilities and features like motion control to new consoles. They also appear happy to lengthen each console generation. Despite Carmack's prediction, Sony continues to stick by its ten year plan for the PlayStation 3, and Microsoft has yet to announce the next Xbox. We'll see what the next two years hold.
That's it for The Weekly Dish this week. Go enjoy a round of Plants vs. Zombies before EA decides that what it needs is more microtransactions!
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*