EA Faces Two More SecuROM Lawsuits

spore suitsIn early September, EA began selling the hotly anticipated PC game title, Spore, around the globe.  The ambition was huge, the hype enormous.  Spore was to be a “sure thing” hit.  So far, it’s lived up to that expectation.  The game is a top seller in Amazon’s PC and Mac games categories (#1 in PC and Mac simulation games, #6 in PC games overall) and according to EA, near two million copies sold in the first three weeks of sales.  Unfortunately, with the sales and  high visibility have come another less desirable achievement: Spore has become a lightning rod for complaints over the SecuROM embedded digital rights management system EA is using to thwart piracy. 

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Google Q3 Surprises

goog earnsIn July, the results failed to meet high expectations.  Now, its October, expectations were low and the results exceeded them.  Such is the sometimes awkward reality of predicting the performance of a company that refuses to give much in the way of forward guidance.

Thursday, Google reported third quarter results. They return showed sequential growth is decelerating, but overall the performance was more than enough to best expectations. Net income of $1.35b or $4.24 a share, good enough to best last year’s result of $1.07b (3.38/share) for the same period by 26%. Revenues were also up handsomely to $5.54b from $4.23b last year.   

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NPD September: Gamings Sales Decline Year over Year

ndp gaming report outFollowing August’s surprise shortfall, September was set to be a litmus test for measuring the health of the gaming industry in the U.S; a chance to spot test if softness in consumer spending would have impact or if the industry’s record setting pace would resume.  Thursday, the data came out.  NPD released the results of their retail sales survey for the month of September.  The results were, well, mixed. 

Overall, sales fell seven percent year over year to $1.27b in September.    It was the second month in a row, after a streak of 27 months, that sales failed to yield a double digit growth rate.  It was also the first decline since March 2006.

On the face of it, that decline may look troublesome.  Beneath the surface, however, it’s a little more complex. Click to Read More

Soundoff: EA’s Riccitiello Talks DRM, Ads, Economy and More

game talkLike many high profile corporate executives, EA’s CEO John Riccitiello has his share of fans and critics.  They exist among gamers and stock watchers alike. Some support his stewardship of the gaming company.  Other’s can’t stand it.  Regardless of perspective, one thing that’s hard to argue about is his candor.  Riccitiello has a penchant for speaking directly and sharing his thoughts.  In New York for Dow Jones Media Money survey this week, he sounded off on issues from the prospect of working with Google, to Digital Rights Management to the effect of the downturn on the industry.  In summary, without interpretation, here are the excerpts:

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Googles Game Play: Adscape Finally in Use

adsense gamesIn February of 2007, Google paid $27m to acquire small in-game advertising company Adscape.  The expectation was the acquired technology would quickly ramp into a Google platform to rival Microsoft’s Massive unit, IGA Worldwide and others chasing the expected boom in video game ads.   That never happened.  While EA linked with Massive, as did Activision, the Adscape platform remained locked away somewhere on Google’s campus.

In July, Venture Beat reported daylight might soon be let in.  The was no certainty but AdSense for Games, the report speculated, was quietly being tested for use with console games, web games and mobile offerings.  The platform was “something to watch for.”

This week, the doors were finally opened.  Click to Read More

Adsense for Games? Experimental or Coming Soon?

adsense gamesMention in-game advertising to video game fanatics and you’re likely to get one of two responses. The first will be bitter complaints that lament the scourge cluttering their virtual worlds.  The other will be an uneasy acceptance that harbors hope the included ads will somehow make future games more affordable or more realistic.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, however, in-game ads are here to stay.

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Freshly Funded: January Venture Recap

cashThe second half of January proved fruitful for a number of startups seeking capital.  5, with focuses ranging from gaming to social networking, mark this issue of the venture roundup:

•IGA Worldwide
New York based IGA is one of the larger independent companies running an in-game advertising network.  On January 24th, they announced the closing on an additional installment of $5m in funding for their Series B round.   Translink Capital, ITOCHU and Presidio STX, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp, provided the funds.

IGA previously took $25m in Series B financing last July. Click to Read More

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