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Handhelds drive games market, says Enix chief

The Financial Times has published an interesting interview with Yoichi Wada, the chief executive of Square Enix.

To sum up, he says:

  • The demographics of gamers have changed completely over the last few years.
  • Dragon Quest IX, the latest part of the insanely popular series, will only appear for the Nintendo DS.
  • Nintendo was succesful in broadening the market for games.
    "We chose the Nintendo DS because the widest array of people use it, including people who previously did not play games before," said Mr Wada.
  • The world is not yet ready for next-gen consoles.
    "There are too many specs — and you also need a high-definition TV, a broadband connection and a deep knowledge of gaming — these consoles are mismatched to today's environment. In a year or two years they will fare better," Mr Wada said.
This from the CEO of a public company, one of the largest game development companies in Japan, with a long and fruitful relationship with Sony.

There may be more going on here than meets the eye, I don't have a lot of background information on this. But even on the surface this has to be a feather in Nintendo's cap. and an affirmation of their strategy. Too bad it's such a closed platform.

Church of England demands Sony donation for cathedral shoot-out game - Yahoo! News

Church of England demands Sony donation for cathedral shoot-out game - Yahoo! News.

Zzzz. Remember: this game takes place in a fictional world that is different from the one we live in, in which major events never happened but humanity is threatened by evil non-human creatures. Hmmm.... not unlike the world view of some Christians.

It's not quite 'Kill the Haitians' is it. On the other hand, if Sony loses out on this, would they be able to patch the church out of the game using their online service?

The Chris Hecker / Wii brouhaha at GDC 2007

During the GDC this year there was a small controversy over something Chris Hecker said during a rant session about the Nintendo Wii. It was mentioned on a lot of blogs back then, but I didn't feel I could really add anything sensible to it, and it was all a bit silly to begin with. Anyone who considers Mr. Hecker as primarily an Electronic Arts employee doesn't know enough about the games industry. Even though, yes, he is an Electronic Arts employee, and what happened was not really surprising. I wouldn't have said what he said, but then that's probably why I don't get called up there to rant.

Anyway, for those who missed it in March: I found Kim Pallister's blog post to be the most reasonable summary of and commentary on the subject.

AIIDE 2007 proceedings

As someone with a background in technology and game design, AI programming excites me like few other subjects, and it is a continuous source of surprise and frustration to me that I have done so little of it. Somehow, by the time gaming hardware was capable of serious AI I was already on my way to becoming a producer.

Nevertheless I get an itchy feeling in my fingers when I read about the proceedings of the Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, which starts today in Stanford, California, in this blog post on AiGameDev.

Interactive storytelling using player modelling? Player-specific stories via automatically generated events? Dynamic generation of dilemma-based interactive narratives? Maybe I should try those polyphasic sleep techniques so I can get more done each day.

(Thanks, Alex!)

Fix8 Brings Computer Generated Animation To The Webcam

I blogged about Logitech QuickCam Effects about a year ago. Today TechCrunch is reporting about fix8, a company offering a more advanced form of this technology.

fix8 combines video, animation and instant messaging that allows users to create their own partial or full custom avatars that mimic human movement.

At the heart of fix8 is H.E.A.R.T. (Human Expression Analysis and Rendering Technology), which digitizes human expressions, gestures, and movements via webcam, enabling users to create, interact, and share their creations across the web, TV, and soon mobile phones.

I am sure we can all see where this is going (step 1: YouTube, step 2: damn kids, step 3: porn, step 4: the uncanny valley, step 5: lawsuits). Pretty cool to see this running on consumer hardware. The demo video is freaky though.