Note: The Xbox 360 story regarding single-threaded games has been updated.
Microsoft Discusses 360 Release[xbox]
Microsoft announced its earning today for the latest financial quarter, with its Home and Entertainment Division (which contains the company's Xbox operations) posting a loss of $141M, up from a $131M loss last year. The increased loss can be attributed to slowing Xbox sales, which dropped $132M in revenue from last year in part due to the upcoming Xbox 360 devaluing the current-gen Xbox. Microsoft expects losses to continue to increase into the next quarter as the company spends more on the Xbox 360 launch and associated marketing and events.
Notably, Microsoft indicated that analysts have actually been "expecting more of a launch spike than we were" in regards to initial Xbox 360 shipments, which is somewhat surprising because analysts have already been forecasting lower-than-planned ship numbers. The statement does not bode well for gamers who want a 360 but haven't already pre-ordered one (nor does it bode well for gamers who pre-ordered their consoles late in the game).
X360 Launch Titles Single-Threaded[xbox]
Everybody's favorite industry muckraker The Inquirer has posted a claim that all of the Xbox 360 launch titles are single-threaded, using only one of the six available threads present in the machine's three double-threaded processing cores. This wouldn't be all that surprising, given that multithreaded programming is something that is entirely new to the game development world and many developers have outright stated that it will take some time to wrap their heads around the concept and develop a strong competency with it. That said, The Inquirer has not always been known for its rock-solid research, and this news should still be treated as rumor.
As such, GameSpot has featured the story in its latest edition of Rumor Control, and it looks like Microsoft has not confirmed or denied the allegation.
UPDATE: I have received confirmation from a designer at Infinity Ward, assuring me that the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 2 (X360, PC) is in fact running on at least two threads. While he could not elaborate into specific technical details, he is definitely aware that the game's AI is being run on a separate thread than the rest of the code.
A developer at Pseudo has also written, confirming that Full Auto (X360) in fact uses all six threads across all three cores. So there you go!
THQ Touches On Next Generation[ps2] [xbox] [nintendo]
THQ released its latest financial reports today, with a loss for the second quarter of $1.4M. The number is a great improvement over last year's second quarter loss of $6.4M, and was lower than analysts expected.
The company also made a few announcements regarding the next console generation. For one thing, Volition's GTA-esque Saint's Row (X360), once speculated for the Xbox 360's launch window, has been delayed. The title will not ship until the first quarter of THQ's 2007 fiscal year, which begins next April.
THQ also has 13 games in the works for the three next-gen consoles, and claims that four will be released in its current fiscal year--which, of course, means before next April. Considering the publisher stated that it expects both PS3 and Revolution to ship in the second half of 2006, one would assume that all four of those titles are set for Xbox 360.
In regards to all three consoles, THQ is currently planning on devoting approximately 40% of its development budget to Xbox 360, 40% to PS3, and 20% to Revolution. The company is currently increasing its Revolution development, and explained that its lower Revolution budget is due to the console still being largely unrevealed. In regards to Nintendo as a company, THQ president Brian Farrell told IGNCube last month that "Nintendo is waking up," and that "We're seeing more from Nintendo now [for Revolution] than we have on any other Nintendo platform," though at the time he declined to elaborate due to nondisclosure agreements.
Tool for GTA:LCS Soundtracks[psp]
Owners of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP) who wish to take advantage of the game's custom soundtrack support will need to download a special tool to convert music files into a format accepted by the game. The utility is conveniently mirrored on FileShack right here.
In the readme, Rockstar notes, "RCT is designed not to work with personally created CDs or CDs containing music encoded via MP3, WMA or other compression techniques. By using RCT, you acknowledge and agree that all conversions created through RCT are solely for your private use to enhance your enjoyment of the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and may not be reproduced or distributed to others."
GameSpot chats with Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack regarding the studio's long in the works title Too Human (X360).
GameSpot checks out People Can Fly's Painkiller: Hell Wars (Xbox).
Game Informer has movies and a preview of Alphadream's Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS). GameSpot has Famitsu-sourced details on Marvelous' Ys Strategy (DS) (so does IGN), Square Enix's Final Fantasy III (DS, also NES) (so does IGN), and Capcom's Resident Evil: Deadly Silence. IGN previews Nintendo's Super Princess Peach (DS), Genius Sonority's Pokemon Torouze (DS), and Planet Moon's Infected (PSP).