16
Nov
12

Black ops 2, THQ, AMD, & Sinofsky in the news


 

The Midagedgamer Report for 11-16-2012

This week…

Black ops 2 is here, THQ and AMD’s futures uncertain and Windows boss is shown the door.

Black Ops has dropped!  Well, Black Ops 2.  If the gaming press, High Budget commercials or worldwide midnight launch parties on the 13th didn’t already alert you then allow me to provide the service.  Black ops 2 brings back Alex Mason and takes you through the 70′s and 80′s and on to 2025 for futuristic call of Duty action.  I Suppose COD felt the need to put their own twist on BF:2142 in the series.

Black Ops 2 is available now in the U.S. on Xbox, PC and Playstation and for the WiiU November 18th.  It’s the 30th in Europe and Japan December 20th.  Of course the price is $59.99 like any other so-called “A-list” title.

http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2

You probably heard the news.  Members of Seal Team Six got in  trouble for supposedly divulging “classified” tactics to EA during the development of Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  As bad as the game is it’s hard to believe anyone with any tactical training had anything to do with it.  I’m hoping it’s all just an administrative foul up.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/seal-team-6-medal-of-honor_n_2096914.html

Seems THQ may not have to worry about the success of their next 3 titles.  The troubled developer’s assets are being eyed by Ubisoft.  THQ has already sold the rights to their UFC license to EA earlier this year to raise some capital and last week’s stock split didn’t help much.  Their stock price continues to hover around the $1 range.  The writing on the wall predicts that THQ is going to be picked over by the buzzards instead of rising from its own ashes.

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/11/13/ubisoft-shows-interest-in-thq-assets/

Are you happy now Windows 8 haters???

You scared little Steven away!

Steven Sinofsky that is…

Not really, Steve Ballmer actually showed him the door and it had nothing to do with Windows 8 sales numbers…

Steven Sinofsky the man responsible for the new look of Windows on PC’s and tablets has left the building.  When asked about the reasons for his departure the standard breakup line of “It’s me, not them” was offered up.

“Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read — about me, opportunity, the company or its leadership,”

That “speculation” may have something to do with his reputation of being a divisive force within Microsoft and generally not pleasant to work for if your viewpoint wasn’t completely in line with his.  Inside sources claim that Sinofsky’s absolute rule of the Windows division pushed aside the tradition of collaboration among other Microsoft groups causing rifts.  That would explain the lack of a unified programming interface across the new Windows variants including phone and RT.

So it appears that you either loathed or loved the guy, with the former being more common.

Picking up the reigns of Windows engineering is Julie Larson-Green who after joining Microsoft in 1997 was responsible for the much loved (sarcasm there) ribbon interface in office 2007.  I passionately hate the ribbon but others  are equally passionate in their praise of it.  Let’s hope her future decisions are less polarizing.  One thing is for certain, she’ll need to brush up her keynote skills over what we saw in the Win 8 launch event.

What does this have to do with gaming? 90% of games are played on a Windows platform.  Even if you don’t plan an upgrade soon, at some point you’ll have to deal with Sinofsky’s legacy.

http://mashable.com/2012/11/13/who-is-julie-larson-green/

http://mashable.com/2012/11/13/sinofsky-email/

AMD is not, repeat not selling off the company…yet.

So why are they working with J.P. Morgan to figure out the value of their assets.  AMD hasn’t been doing as well in the mobile and desktop processor space as it’s competition over the last half decade.   With limited mobile products and lackluster processor offerings that long ago ceded the market to Intel.  The only bright spot is their graphics division which is the only division that’s remained profitable.

It’s hard to understand how a company that pioneered the now ubiquitous ideas of multiple CPU cores, and on CPU graphics could have fallen on such hard times.  AMD was largely responsible for bringing 64 bit computing and workstation level performance to the mainstream user.  That kind of innovation almost toppled the giant that is Intel who was caught resting on its laurels with more power hungry and less efficient designs.

AMD’s been through too many management changes in the years since it lost the processor wars with Intel and decided to be the “value” option.  The trouble with that strategy is that Intel has been able to crush AMD’s engineered “value” offerings by simply releasing gimped versions of their high end products into the channel at competitive prices and competitive if not better performance.

Last year AMD officially ceded the performance and most of the mainstream processor market to Intel.  In essence, they just gave up on performance and decided to try to change the market instead.  It was the safer bet but in such a competitive space the safe  doesn’t translate to a dominant market position.

AMD is looking at possibly selling off patents and IP (Intellectual Property) to try to stay afloat.  Perhaps they need to go all in instead of treading water as they have been doing.  If AMD leaves the chip market entirely expect prices and innovation to further stagnate.  Worse, expect to pay whatever Intel and Nvidia want to charge you for the parts in your next game rig.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/13/3641698/amd-explores-options-possible-sale

Hey what a surprise! Somebody’s going to make a movie based on a popular videogame!

The next installment in our, “Hollywood is bereft of an original idea” series is an upcoming movie based on Deus Ex: Human Revolution.   Hot on the heels of that news is the announcement that it will have a director.  His name is Scott Derrickson whose credits include “Sinister” whatever that was.

It’s not really a surprise with so much crossover between the gaming industry and Hollywood.  It would just be nice to see more movies like StarGate or WarGames that don’t have a game or comic book as their basis.

The real question is at what point will seeing a movie be superfluous because everyone already played the game it’s based on?

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/379014/director-confirmed-for-deus-ex-human-revolution-film-adaptation/

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