Sony Computer Entertainment sees leadership changes in Japan, US[ps2] [ps3] [psp]
In the wake of the recent launch of PlayStation 3, Sony Computer Entertainment last night announced multiple changes being made to its divisions in both Japan and North America. Jack Tretton, who formerly served as Sony Computer Entertainment America's executive vice president and co-chief operating officer, has been promoted to president and chief executive officer of the company. He replaces Kaz Hirai, who will become the president and group COO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the company's Japanese division. Ken Kutaragi, who held the roles of president and group CEO, will in turn become SCEI's chairman while retaining his role as group CEO. Current Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president, CEO, and co-COO David Reeves will retain his current roles while also becoming deputy president of SCEI. Finally, SCEI board of directors member Akira Sato will become vice chairman of the division.
Speaking on Tretton's new roles, Hirai said, "Jack has been with SCEA since its formation and helped pilot the debuts of the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP and the successful launch of the recently released PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system. Given his experience and exceptional reputation in the industry, I can think of no better person to assume the helm of the PlayStation brand in the US, Canada and Latin America." Said Tretton, "Moving forward, we will remain focused on the continued market leadership of the PlayStation brand, driving consumer demand for the new PS3, and existing platforms such as PSP and PS2, which continue to excel in the marketplace."
Along with the announcement has come speculation from many analysts, both in North America and Japan, regarding the implications of the reshuffling. It is likely that many of Kutaragi's day to day duties will be passed on to Hirai, giving the former SCEA exec more practical control over PlayStation's worldwide operations. Kutaragi, who has had the largest influence on the PlayStation vision since its inception over ten years ago, will be moving to a broader and more supervisory role. Many have noted that the affable Hirai, whose position has necessitated frequently contact with development studios in North America and Europe, is a fitting choice to head up PlayStation's worldwide headquarters. Sony may be hoping to avoid further instances of scenarios such as Kutaragi's alleged tardiness in responding to Western third parties costing Sony exclusives.
All leadership changes will become effective as of December 1, 2006.
Halo 3 beta registration opening Monday[xbox360]
Following its announcement of a Halo 3 multiplayer beta this month, Microsoft today announced further details on when and how gamers can get signed up. As of Monday, December 4, applications will be accepted at Halo3.com, which currently resolves to developer Bungie's official site. Microsoft did not give any indication as to the criteria that will be used to determine who is included in the test.
Microsoft also sent along a still capture of the upcoming Halo 3 CG advertisement that will run on ESPN on Monday, December 4, between 5:50pm and 6:20pm Pacific time. For those who don't catch the initial airing, the ad will also be downloadable on Xbox Live Marketplace.
EA dedicates newly acquired studio to Wii[wii]
Earlier this year, Electronic Arts announced the creation of an internal studio dedicated to developing games for Wii. Today, the company revealed that another of its internal studios will be focusing solely on Wii development. EA has acquired Headgate Studios, a Salt Lake City-based studio boasting a six year working relationship with the publisher. Headgate will be renamed EA Salt Lake, and will keep its existing staff and location, but will shift its scope from primarily PC development to Wii development. Headgate founder and CEO Vance Cook will head up EA Salt Lake as the studio's executive producer.
Previously, Headgate developed the PC versions of EA's Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf franchise, as well some PC entries in other EA franchises such as Madden NFL and The Godfather. EA has already announced that a Wii version of Tiger Woods is in the works, and it is almost certain that the rechristened EA Salt Lake is heading up its production.
EA's Probst estimates PS3 sales missed targets by half[ps3] [xbox360] [nintendo]
Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst commented this week on the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3, estimating that actual shipments and sales for the machine came in well under Sony's targets. Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, Probst said that despite projections of shipping and selling 400,000 units in North America at launch, PlayStation 3 was likely to have reached only 200,000 units sold initially, thanks to hevaily constrained supply. As far as the goals for calendar 2006, Sony has stated its intention to bring 1 to 1.2 million units into North America; Probst expects year end figures to end up in the range of 500,000 to 800,000.
Still, the shortfall did not negatively impact EA's sales, which have been stronger than expected in the holiday season, prompting the publisher to raise its 2006 revenue outlook. "Bottom line, I would say that the first holiday weekend met or slightly exceeded expectations," said Probst, pegging the results on continued success of PlayStation 2 as well as handheld consoles from Nintendo and Sony, and strong performance from Xbox 360 and the newly launched Wii. "Clearly the Nintendo Wii had a spectacular holiday," said Probst, noting that the system's performance has exceeded EA's expectations. As far as Microsoft goes, Probst expects the company to have delivered 10 million Xbox 360 units to retailers by the end of the calendar year. Previously, Microsoft has stated targets of either selling or shipping that quantity of consoles by year end.
Xbox 360 gets 1080p output fixed in patch[xbox360]
When Microsoft added 1080p support to Xbox 360 earlier this month, some users reported output problems when connecting their consoles with VGA cables. Today, Microsoft released a new auto-update that addresses the issue, as well as tweaks some problems related to the recently played games list and headsets with wireless controllers.
PS3 grabs firmware update[ps3]
This week, Sony made available a new firmware download available for PlayStation 3, bringing the machine's system software up to version 1.11. The fairly minor update adds a new Account Management shortcut to the cross media bar's Friends menu.
Screenshots: Halo 3 (X360) CG trailer capture.
GameSpot goes hands on with Ubisoft Montreal's Far Cry Vengeance (Wii).
GameSpot checks out HAL Laboratories and Flagship's Kirby Squeak Squad (NDS).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
TenchU for the PlayStation. "The only game in the series worth playing, even this game has aged horribly since it's release. Still, it was one of the only games where you could actually do ninja stuff. It was pretty great getting Grandmaster on every level!" (submitted by famine101)