Unlike its closest competitor, Activision, Electronic Arts broke its 2008 bank over original IPs like Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space, and Left 4 Dead, instead of the usual sequel-oriented fare. And at first glance, this risky strategy – akin to crawling when you already know how to walk, monetarily speaking – seems to have paid off.
During a conference call held earlier today, EA announced that Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space have roof-run and moon-walked their ways, respectively, to one million sales. Left 4 Dead, meanwhile, managed to pick the brains of 1.8 million retail customers. (Note: EA doesn’t have anything to do with the game’s Steam release, so it couldn’t provide any numbers on that.)
However, this tale of corporations, rebels, and zombies (of both the land and space varieties) doesn’t end happily. In spite of increased revenue, EA called its third quarter fiscal 2009 results “a clear disappointment.” The company posted an overall net loss of $641 million, mostly due to expenses and losses on investments.
Unsurprisingly, after taking such a beating, EA’s bleeding employees. The mega-publisher announced that it will reduce its workforce by 11% and close 12 facilities by the end of March. Roughly 1,100 people will be affected.
Good thing The Sims 3 and Dragon Age are landing soon, though, right? Oh. Never mind.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
If your strict 2009 gaming schedule absolutely required that you give Sims 3 a day-one download and light tiny people on fire until Dragon Age: Origins’ “early 2009” release date, prepare to cancel that fake encounter with mononucleosis (followed by a string of extra long-lasting colds due to your “weakened immune system”), because the two games have run away together into the latter part of 2009.
“The June launch combined with the break-through game the team is building gives us the perfect runway to create awareness for The Sims 3,” said EA marketing boss Russell Arons.
Meanwhile, Dragon Age: Origins, as with any good BioWare game (the only non-delayed BioWare game, for reference) slipped big time and will be bed-ridden until EA’s third quarter, which runs from October 1 to December 31. Apparently, the delay will allow EA to more properly market to the Baldur’s Gate-esque RPG’s PC version alongside its console cousins.
"I'm really proud of our team, who are working very hard to make Dragon Age: Origins the biggest and most exciting BioWare game yet, and we will work to ensure it not only meets, but exceeds the expectations of our loyal audience," said CEO Ray Muzyka.
Kinda rubbing salt in the wound, aren’t you there, Muzyka? Something tells us this won’t be an easy wait.
If you answered Yes to the above question then you are in luck, but even if you hate Microsoft, you can bury it in the ground along with all of your other Microsoft related apparel. These shirts are primarily for people in technology development, but they will probably give a shirt to anyone that completes the survey. The survey is nine questions and lasts less than 5 minutes. The shirt is available in small, medium, large and extra large. According to the website, it will take 6-8 weeks for your shirt to arrive. They will probably be in short supply, so if you are interested in showing off your love for Microsoft and their operating system, hit the jump for more details and a list of the questions asked.
Amazon has been pretty good about digital distribution in the past. Their music store is a strong competitor to Apple’s iTunes, and now it looks like they’re planning to man up the casual game division with their own game download center.
The fledgling game store is already packed with 600+ titles here on day one, and they’re planning to add more as time goes on. And, as a bonus to people that sign up with the store this week, they are offering full versions of “Jewel Quest 2,” “The Scruffs,” and “Build A Lot,” all for free.
Though, they are sure to note that this is only a beta launch, so if there are kinks, don’t stress about them too much. Growing pains are all part of starting something like this. Amazon, we’ll keep our eyes on you, you’ve impressed before.
Four Google employees have been slapped with criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy. Their legal woes began when an Italian organization complained against a video on Google Video – uploaded a couple of years ago – that shows four imbeciles tormenting a disabled person.
Although Google removed the video as soon as the complaint was made, Italian prosecutors decided to persist with personal criminal charges – an unprecedented move - against the four Google executives. Their trial will begin on Tuesday in Milan, Italy. These Google execs may even be consigned to an Italian prison for up to three years, if the charges against them are upheld.
It has vowed to “vigorously defend” its employees. "Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet" a spokeswoman for Google argued.
Just this week Google and NASA announced the release of Google Earth’s new “Mars mode,” a feature that will allow users of the planet-browsing program to check out high-resolution shots of the red planet’s exterior.
Google Earth’s new feature “enables users to fly virtually through enormous canyons and scale huge mountains on Mars that are much larger than any found on Earth. Users also can explore the Red Planet through the eyes of the Mars rovers and other Mars missions, providing a unique perspective of the entire planet,” according to the press release distributed by NASA.
This will also give the scientific community an easy way to share information about Mars, and give every user the opportunity to understand its basic science.
The latest update to Google's Chrome browser brings the version number to 22.214.171.124, and with it a few noteworthy changes of interest to web-based mail users. Specifically, the latest release addresses an issue so that sending mail from Yahoo Mail works again. The new version also makes it so that Windows LIve Hotmail now works.
"While the Hotmail team works on a proper fix, we're deploying a workaround that changes the user agent string that Google Chrome sends when requesting URLs that end with mail.live.com," Google wrote on its Chrome blog.
That's all groovy and everything, but Google's Chrome browser still doesn't support extensions. But hey, it works with Hotmail. Woot?
Asus is typically good about tossing out press releases when they drop a new product, but this time around they’ve just put up their latest netbook up for pre-order, hoping that we’d catch on. Well, as you might have guessed by now we did, and without further adieu, let me introduce to you the Asus Eee PC 1000HE (E is for extended!).
The new little beastie will feature a 10-inch LED screen, a 160GB HDD, a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor, and built in 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. It’ll all come wrapped in a very modest $399 (and an additional $25 off if you’re in the Facebook group), and will run for up to 9.5 hours using Asus’ Super Hybrid Engine battery technology.
If you’re looking to pre-order, be sure to check this out.
If John Madden ever gets his hands on a new touch recognition SMART Board, we're throwing in the towel and never watching another game football again. It's bad enough watching Madden draw swirlies on the screen as he explains that the team who scores more points by the end of the game will be the winner, but can you imagine the added dimension of moving players and objects around? *shudder*
Despite the potential risks involved, fans of SMART Boards will be stoked to learn that touch recognition has found its way onto the interactive whiteboard. According to Smarttech, the touch recognition feature makes it possible for compatible Boards to discern between writing with a pen and attempting to move objects with your fingers and will switch modes automatically.
"For teachers new to the SMART Board, this feature helps them become proficient more quickly," Smarttech writes on its product page. "That’s because the intuitive flow of writing and erasing on the board is similar to how traditional chalkboards and whiteboards are used. And the sooner teachers become comfortable with the technology, the sooner they can start engaging students with interactive lessons."
You can view a clip of the new SMART Board in action on YouTube here, which demonstrates some nifty functionality such as moving newly written words around.
Touch recognition-capable SMART Boards are expected to available in early February, so any day now.