This weekend marks a historic occasion: someone's finally found something that the iPad can actually excel at. In other news: bitter rivals Microsoft and Sony compare online numbers, and Viacom demands that Harmonix return over $150,000,000 worth of performance bonuses.
PopCap find use for iPad
The iPad is a handsome piece of kit, but technophiles have had real trouble deciding what it's actually for. Hell, even our elite Dealspwn team have had little success deciding what the point of Apple's new must-have gadget is.
Luckily, the unbelievably popular casual game developer PopCap has told us exactly what the iPad will excel at: RTS Games. Popcap co-founder John Vechey informs us that PopCap will be wholeheartedly supporting the iPad, stating that Real Time Strategy games would
"actually be more fun than a lot of different game experiences you can get with a PC or console...I don't know if this is a PopCap position or my word, but we're certainly going to support [the iPad]- I want to play Plants vs Zombies on that. It feels good to touch, right?" [Eurogamer]
This makes good sense. Being able to select units, destinations and build queues with a single touch would be an amazing way to play any RTS. However, Vechey also reckons that the iPad will take two generations and three years to reach its peak (much like the iPod) and that Apple will have to wait for their latest device to truly make an impact on the gaming industry. Adding Wifi and 3G will help- roll on April! More iPad 3 rumours here on our sister site, Mobot.net.
Sony and Microsoft Reveal Online Numbers
Sony and Microsoft have finally revealed the numbers of online gamers registered with PSN and Xbox Live.
In yesterday's official Sony blog, President Jack Tretton congratulated his online flock for reaching 40 million gamers, which is almost enough to populate a full game of MAG (just kidding, relax). Tretton stated that:
"[THE] PlayStation Network experienced huge growth last year, marking its best revenue month in December – a 155% increase in sales from the previous year. More than 40 million of you all over the world are coming to PlayStation Network to access multimedia content and to enhance your social gaming experiences." [Playstation Blog]
Sony's decision to make their online experience completely free has clearly resonated with savvy gamers during the recession, and they are sure to continue reaping the benefits.
Microsoft has reported that its Xbox Live Gold customers now stands at 23 million. This may seem relatively low compared to the Sony figures, but bear in mind that this doesn't include the millions of silver customers who use the free service for demos, videos and communition. These 23 million paying customers are also earning a whopping annual £919,770,000 for the company (since each gold subscription costs £39.99).
Viacom demands $150,000,000 refund from Harmonix
2009 was a lean time for rhythm game publishers, and Viacom has been feeling the pinch. In an effort to recoup some of their recent losses, Viacom (the parent company of MTV Games) has demanded that the 150 million dollars of performance-related bonuses paid out to Rock Band developer Harmonix.
This seems a little childish, especially considering that Harmonix publicly expressed surprise at the huge amount of kickback they were receiving in Rock Band's heyday- but news of declining Guitar Hero sales and downsizing suggests that the music genre is suffering due to the economic climate. Only 2010 sales will tell whether our infatuation with plastic guitars was just a short fling or a lasting romance. [1UP]