Gaming Roundup 8/11/08: Everybody Wins

Nathan Grayson

Innovation. In gaming, it's a weighted word, but really, what does it even mean? Portal was "innovative" because it allowed players to slap portals onto walls and travel into their depths. But at one point, Warcraft III was declared "innovative" for mixing basic RPG elements with tried-and-true RTS gameplay. And then we have things like the Wii, which can (potentially) add brand new dimensions to the way we play games.

So, in your opinion, what actually makes something innovative? Do you think an innovative game has to blow minds and shift paradigms, or can it be something as simple as Call of Duty 4's experience system -- subtle, yet effective?

Today's Roundup sees so-called innovators both succeed and fail, with one highly unexpected title snagging an award for Interactive Innovation, while another causes its creator to drop out of the gaming industry altogether. Also, in the "And More" section: data that shows PCs beating consoles at their own game. Hit the break for the full scoop.

NPD: gamers use PCs more than consoles

PC wins. End of story, right? Not exactly. According to the NPD report, PCs are "used more than any single console for gaming," so consoles overall have the PC beat, but it's one on five, and the PC is holding its own.

Additionally, the NPD has divided gamers -- 174 million and counting --  into segments. Casual, hardcore, and hardcasual have fallen to the wayside; in their places are:

* Young Heavy Gamers: 22%
* Secondary Gamers: 20%
* Console Games: 17%
* Offline PC Gamers: 15%
* Online PC Gamers: 14%
* Avid PC Gamers: 9%
* Extreme Gamers: 3%

Apparently, the top three categories like their consoles with a side of PC, and not the other way around. "Console Gamers, Young Heavy Gamers and Extreme Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play video games," said the report.

I, for one, can't wait for N'Gai Croal's manifesto about the Young Heavy Gamer.

Halo 3 Scoops Edge Award for Interactive Innovation

Nope, not Portal, GTA IV, Rock Band, or Super Mario Galaxy -- all of which were nominated.

"Ultimately it is the integration and coherence of Halo 3’s online content that makes the game stand apart. From its Theater mode to Forge, and the way a party playing through Live can seamlessly manoeuvre between them, here is an experience that demonstrates an unparalleled understanding of the potential for console online play. Outside of the game, has been engineered to become a remarkable resource for Halo 3 stats and communities, providing life for the game even when your Xbox 360 is switched off. Halo 3, just as Halo 2 did before it, presents a roadmap for the way online will be integrated in videogames in the coming years," Edge said, justifying the award.

This selection actually gets a hearty thumbs-up from me. In a way, I think Halo 3 beat LittleBigPlanet to the punch. Customizable maps? Check. Ability to play while creating levels? Check. A Youtube-style community? Check. Sure, LittleBigPlanet catapults the concept into the stratosphere, but Halo 3 definitely had the right idea. So obviously, when LBP wins the award next year, we'll all have a reason to whine extra loudly.

Luc Bernard: “I won’t be continuing in videogames”

Eternity's Child creator Luc Bernard is done with the videogame biz. His explanation:

“The press can really destroy you morally, too much stress (kind of made me ill and become an alcoholic).”

Ouch. We're sorry? Really though, I can understand where he's coming from. When a reader tears into my work -- regardless of the validity of their criticisms -- I take it pretty hard. Bernard seems like a guy who takes tremendous pride in his work, and seeing his labor of love repeatedly smashed just didn't sit well with him. So, even though storming out of the industry may seem immature, I wish Bernard luck in whatever he endeavors to do next.

Sony and Nintendo will tie at 230 million consoles by 2011, says former SCEE boss

Consoles. Not Wiis and PS3s. Former SCEE boss Chris Deering breaks it down likes this:

150 million DSes + 80 million Wiis = 230 million consoles


70 million PS3s + 70 million PSPs + 90 million PS2s = 230 million consoles

(Note that for PS2s, he means PS2s sold since the beginning of this console cycle.)

The Xbox 360, meanwhile, will sit at 40 million because of "the set-top box hi-def phenomenon." Click the link to find out how he calculated the data and then judge for yourself if he's right or not.

Midway Confirms Austin Layoffs, Cancels Unannounced Project

Between 90 and 130 employees were sacked in this "difficult decision." According to Midway Interim CEO and president Matt Booty, the game in question didn't live up to Midway's high standards. Midway Austin formerly worked on Area 51 and Blacksite: Area 51, so maybe this cancellation was for the best.

Flagship vets reassemble, form Runic Games

Like a phoenix from the ashes, only the phoenix's old body is now a zombie that lives across the street. How very awkward for both of them.

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