Today's news roundup brings us hope for the financial future of the games industry as analysts predict that solid market growth will begin in March. Ubisoft's recent investors call reveals details about their latest Assassin's Creed Project and new episodic release policies. Finally, EA will tackle the problem of early online quitters with a revamped reward and punishment system in FIFA 11.
March to mark financial recovery of games industry
Britain is now officially out of the recession (at least on paper) and industry analysts predict that March will herald the start of financial recovery for the games industry. 2009 was a rocky year for developers and publishers worldwide; with hundreds of layoffs, canned projects and declining software sales casting a real doubt over the future of the entertainment medium. Thankfully, two leading analyst firms now claim that the slew of heavyweight first-quarter titles such as Bioshock 2 and God of War III will breathe new life into the industry- and hopefully make a ton of cash in the process.
Michael Pachter, a senior analyst for Wedbush Morgan, commented that, “We think that the hardcore gamer will carry 2010 to solid growth, and think that the hardcore was reinvigorated with the late January release, Mass Effect 2. In April, hardware comparisons begin a string of very easy months, and we think that software sales will rise to double-digits through August.”
Well, you heard the man. Keep up the good work, hardcore gamers! [Gamesindustry.biz]
New Assassin's Creed setting and multiplayer mode
Ubisoft announced that a new Assassin's Creed title was in the pipeline last month, and has now let a few juicy tidbits out of the bag during their recent investors call. The as yet unnamed AC project will follow the continuing story of Ezio as he takes on the Templars in Renaissance Rome, and will feature an “innovative” new multiplayer mode. Whilst they're keeping quiet about the specifics, Ubisoft claim that the new online multiplayer will allow players to participate in a competitive assassination gametype... and possibly even a cooperative mode, since they've stated that new releases will contain co-op "as a general rule."
Alain Martinez, Ubisoft's Chief Financial Officer, also revealed that they will be releasing their major franchises much more regularly whilst still allowing time to develop new titles. Citing Rayman: Raving Rabids as an example, Martinez explained that "Bringing a game regularly is actually maintaining a better sell of your back catalog because you are more present and people will buy the new title or the cheaper, cost-effective ones." We can expect to see the New Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier by the end of the year. [VG247]
FIFA 11 will show red card to early quitters
There's nothing more annoying than working hard to trounce an online opponent- only to watch them quit at the last minute to preserve their rankings. Unless, of course, you are one of the small minority that do this regularly. You know who you are.
2010 FIFA World Cup line producer Simon Humber recently revealed to Eurogamer that EA were looking into a new reward system that encourages players to complete games as well as winning. A new 'Five Minute Rule' will allow gamers with patchy connections to legitimately drop out at the beginning of a match, but weaselly dropouts will subsequently be heavily punished for exiting near the end of the game.
Apparently this won't factor into FIFA World Cup due to time constraints, but FIFA 11 will almost certainly ring in the changes. This system sounds a lot less draconian than similar deterrents (such as Bungie's instant XP loss for disconnection during a Halo 3 match). Hopefully this will stamp out ragequitting as we know it! [Eurogamer]