Following in the footsteps of the
World of Warcraft film, it turns out that the Halo movie has also died an undignified death. According to Peter Jackson,
Microsoft has a whole strategy with the Halo property, and when the rights expired with the two studios, that sort of ended my involvement with the project. That fell apart because of internal politics at Fox and Universal. It had nothing to do with the budget or anything else. In fact, we hadn't even been greenlit at all at that point.
Bungie has been the face of the
Halo franchise since the beginning, and other that Halo Wars, they have been THE developer of the series. However, Microsoft technically is in charge of the series, and with 343 Industries (their new Halo studio), they have everything in place to take care of the series themselves. It is no surprise, then, that Bungie will be leaving the Halo Universe with the eventual release of Halo: Reach.
Actually, they will only be leaving the 360 realm. Senior Designer Lars Bakken said,
The change of Xbox Live Community games to Xbox Live Indie Games has had a lot of people concerned. Anytime Microsoft makes a change like that, it is never just a name change. When Passport became Live, everything changed. And that seems to be the case here as well.
There is a whole new pricing structure, and it is not going to make developers happy. The current prices are 800, 400 and 200 Microsoft points, working out to $10, $5 and $2.50. The new prices are 400, 240 and 80 MSP, or $5, $3 and $1. If you are currently offering a game for 200, it will automatically drop to 80 at the launch. Also, your game must be sized under 50MB to qualify for this price point. If you currently offer a game for 800, you will be allowed to keep that price point, as long as you don't make any changes. If you release a new version with bug fixes, sad story, you must choose a price from the new list.
Sony has decided to join the modern world with its VAIO laptops in the coming year. Mike Abary, a Senior VP for Sony, said that they plan on introducing a touch-screen laptop to its current VAIO offerings. I hope that this attempt will be a lot better than the HP sister product, the TouchSmart, which is annoying on its best day, and a paperweight on its worst.
The more interesting announcement, however, involved the PlayStation Network coming to the Windows platform. Abary said,
This is a story that will hurt
Adam greatly. Sweden wants to tax your MMO avatar sales. That's right, if you sell a game character for, say, WoW, you will be required to pay an income tax on that money. Their reasoning is,
The agency has investigated the trading in avatars during a 14 month period and found the advertised sum of avatars for sale by Swedes to be 662 million SEK. But no one has ever declared any income for trading in avatars to the Tax Agency.
Last week President Obama said some pretty hurtful stuff about gaming. He said:
To parents, we can't tell our kids to do well in school and fail to support them when they get home. For our kids to excel, we must accept our own responsibilities. That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences, reading to our kids, and helping them with their homework.
Now, Obama's gaming hatred has been legendary. This time, however, he took on the beast itself, Microsoft. Microsoft responded to the Associated Press by saying: