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If you want to amuse yourself for a few hours and gamble with a few hundred million, chew on this one for a while. Do movies make better video games than video games make movies? It is easy to find examples that prove either case, and some that prove both – an awful movie that makes an awful lot of money. The big news this week is Microsoft touting Halo as the next big thing. So does the Bill and Balmer show now have eyes for prime time?
Game aficionados will no doubt be curious as to the result of the legal deathmatch between Vivendi Universal games, and Valve, developer of the insanely popular Half-Life 2 blockbuster. The settlement, which will see Valve's entire boxed inventory yanked off shelves and moved to online distribution should raise a few eyebrows and the blood pressure of retailers hungry for software sales.
OK, you know video games are big business. And you have probably heard they can not only make as much money as a blockbuster movie, but if they are released in tandem with one, can do ever better. That’s about half true – most comparisons don’t factor in Hollywood’s downstream revenue from DVD retail and rental, and overstate video game numbers by leaving in hardware sales. But even still – it’s a hefty dollar sign, and if you happen to be a media company without a shiny new games development division, the big question on your mind has got to be – what now?
Now, few would ever bother accusing Microsoft of modesty. And there was certainly little of it from the Software Satan's gaming impresario J. Allard's recent keynote on the next generation XBOX. Leaving aside the standard ambit claims to being the future home entertainment hub, one interesting tidbit was the plans to provide an e-commerce platform for consumer generated game modifications. Entering your initials in the top score list is one thing, but selling your personalised armour to other players? Actually, its not so crazy an idea.
Some off the cuff remarks by Peter Chernin, COO of Newscorp, at a recent US investment conference had the Street murmuring that Murdoch might soon make a big play in the videogame space.
© 2013 Tomorrow Limited