EA’s $82 million third-quarter loss isn’t as bad as you think

EA logo.The third quarter is always a tough one for publishers and especially for EA. That’s why I wasn’t so surprised when the company reported an $82 million dollar loss for this years fiscal Q3. That’s actually $559 million less than it lost at the same time last year, so things are looking up in the face of a continued recession.

The company does have plenty of good going too. Mass Effect 2 is already off to a great start with more than two million units shipped. Dante’s Inferno, which I covered last week, launches today. Add to it that the company’s most recent social acquisition, Playfish, had two of Facebook’s top ten games this past quarter and things don’t look nearly as dire for EA.

The company also mentioned that it was the “#1 packaged goods publisher in North America and Europe” for fiscal 2009.

Source: EA Investor Relations


Greenberg says Reach will be the biggest game of 2010

Aaron Greenberg lookin silly.Microsoft had a great November. The Modern Warfare 2 launch pushed through 4.2 million units, nearly a million more than Halo 3 did at launch. Among other things, the 360 outsold the PS3, even though overall sales were down year on year. Microsoft’s product management director, Aaron Greenberg, had a lot to say on the matter, but the most notable was his prediction for Halo: Reach.

“I feel confident that there’s nothing that will compare in size. Halo: Reach will be the biggest game of 2010.”

So what else releases in 2010? Here’s a short list:
-StarCraft II
-Mass Effect 2
-God of War III
-Final Fantasy XIII
-Gran Turismo 5

Greenberg thinks the Master Chief can beat every one of those. A few on the list, sure, but GT5? Final Fantasy XIII for the West? I have my doubts.

Source: Gamasutra


Mass Effect 2 will be missing the elevators

Mass Effect heroine riding the elevator. The BioWare forums have been a treasure trove of Mass Effect 2 information over the weekend. This latest tidbit concerns the ubiquitous elevator loading sequence we saw in the original game. That’s going away, replaced by a classic loading screen with extra information and visuals. Oh boy!

Here’s what BioWare’s Thomas Roy said:

The elevators were made in ME1 so we didn’t have to show boring loading screens. However there were a lot of complaints, so we’ve gone back to loading screens and movies. We still have elevators in ME2, but you don’t wait inside them. We’ll cut to a loading screen instead.

We’ve tried to make the loading screen more interesting this time by adding interesting visuals and information.

The elevator conversations had some funny moments, but hopefully people will enjoy this new system better than the old one!

Any way you slice it, loading screens are lame, but I think I prefer games that don’t try to mask the fact that there’s some behind the scenes work going on with occasionally funny moments.


Mass Effect 2 will cover 2 discs

Mass Effect 2 box art.More Mass Effect 2 news today, and who can complain? It’s a game I’ve been looking forward to for a while, even if it’s missing that MMO feature I would really love. I still think it’s going to be awesome, and so does Bioware community coordinator Chris Priestly, who said one the Bioware forums, “You cannot fit this much awesome on one disc.”

Yes, sadly Mass Effect 2 will span discs. That’s a great stat for content hounds, but kind of annoying for everyone. Priestly promises it won’t mess up your mojo, though. He claims the disc swap happens at an appropriate time so as not to ruin your experience.

“Even though there is a disc swap, it occurs at a carefully planned place in the game (that does not interfere with gameplay) and is done once. You do not swap back and forth. 1 swap and then done.”

I’m not sure how they managed to pull that one off, other than duplicating serious amounts of content on each disc. Maybe it’s just that we get the opening credits, cinematics, and the first few quests on a shorter disc, and everything else is packed onto that second one. In any case, I’ll be interested to see if this really doesn’t interfere. I mean, really, who wants to get up from the couch?

Source: Mass Effect forums


Don’t expect to be pampered in Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 Shepard.Mass Effect 2 producer Adrien Cho thinks games have gotten too easy, requiring less problem solving skills than ability to best a game’s cheap mechanics.

“Just recently, a game like Demon’s Souls is fantastic because when you die, and you fail, it’s not because the game was cheap it’s usually because you didn’t do something properly,” Cho told Video Games Daily.

“It goes back to that learning mechanism of ‘Well, I tried this – it didn’t work. I’m going to try something different.’ And I think that’s going to be something in Mass Effect 2, we don’t want it to be a cakewalk, you want a challenge.”

I like the attitude, and if anyone can pull off a decent challenge it’s Bioware, but I’ll definitely wait to see the game before singing Cho’s praises.


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