On the Verge Again: Vox Media Officially Launches Into Videogames Content Arena

Games people play (online).

News Byte

Raspberry Pi, a Credit-Card-Sized Computer, Set to Launch

The Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs directly into your TV via an HDMI input, is launching next month, following five years of research and development. Developed in the U.K. by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the $35 version of the device runs Linux, has a 700MHZ ARM 11 processor and 256MB of RAM, and features the first-person multiplayer video game Quake 3 Arena; the $25 version has similar specs, but with 128MB of RAM. Videogame veteran David Braben, the brains behind the Pi, has been quoted as saying he originally created the Pi for educational use.

Casualties of War

The practically complete absence of rules or sanctions is nevertheless astonishing: civilians or protected objects such as churches or mosques can be attacked with impunity, in scenes portraying interrogations it is possible to torture, degrade or treat the prisoner inhumanely without being sanctioned for it and extrajudicial executions are simulated.

— From a 2007 study of war violence in video games by TRIAL, a Geneva-based organization that assists in cases involving international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The topic of whether the trivialization of war crimes as depicted in videogames warrants regulation is being revisited this week during the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Switzerland.


Nintendo Dragged Down by Sluggish Wii Sales

Nintendo Co. sank deeper into the red in the first six months of this fiscal year and forecast its first annual loss in at least three decades, weighed down by sluggish sales of its Wii home console and valuation losses on its foreign-currency holdings.

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THQ Exceeds Guidance After Selling 1.2 Million uDraw GameTablets

THQ reported third-quarter earnings today, exceeding internal guidance because of strong sales of its own uDraw GameTablet, a $70 art accessory for the Nintendo Wii. It shipped 1.2 million units in the quarter. Still, the videogame developer and publisher reported a loss of $14.9 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a year-ago profit. THQ’s revenues totaled $314.6 million, falling 11 percent from 2009. In after-hours trading, THQ’s stock dropped nearly 13 percent to $5.60 a share.

Turning a Tablet Into a Board Game

In the new Digital Solution column, Katie tests a game that successfully marries digital and analog games by using the first physical device to digitally interact with the Apple iPad.

Shocker: Top Online Purchases of 2010 Don't Involve Justin Bieber!

Justin Bieber’s fans must have been satisfied with watching him for free. Because his domination of the music and social charts certainly did not translate into dollars spent on Amazon or eBay.

Game Off! Viacom Dumps Rock Band on Investment Group

Remember when music video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band were red-hot? That was a couple of years ago.

News Byte

Massive Isn't: Microsoft Reportedly Shuttering In-Game Ad Unit

In 2006, Microsoft paid more than $200 million for Massive, a start-up that inserted advertising directly into video games. Now it’s shutting the whole thing down, says Mike Shields at MediaWeek. Shields says Massive had three problems: 1) the market for in-game ads never got nearly as big as predicted 2) Electronic Arts, which represented a big chunk of the revenue Massive did have, brought its business in-house and 3) Microsoft’s Xbox unit never bought into the deal in the first place.


Videogame Sales Off Again Last Month

Videogame sales declined again in November, confirming fears about weak demand this holiday season. Market research firm NPD Group said overall revenue from videogame hardware and software fell 7.6 percent in November to $2.7 billion compared with the same month in 2008. Game software sales fell 3 percent to $1.41 billion.

WSJ Online Video: Games Companies Play