British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is the latest politician who has entered the debate of violent video games, promising to review new rules for advertising and sale of software to children. Apparently, he is “aware of growing concern about the effect of screen violence on youngsters” and is looking into drawing up new legislation for the promotion and sale of video games to minors.
He is expected to put the plans in front of a new ‘Citizens’ Jury’ later this week. His new stance comes after leader of the opposition David Cameron last week launched an attack against violent video games.
Nintendo has announced that over one million units of the Wii have been sold in the UK, making it the fastest selling home console in the region. It crossed the milestone in just 38 weeks, some 11 weeks faster than the PS2 which took 50 weeks, as well as the Xbox 360 which took 60 weeks to reach the major milestone.
David Yarnton, General Manager of Nintendo UK commented, “The non-stop demand for Wii even in the traditionally slow sales periods for video games in the UK is clearly behind this record breaking achievement. The performance of both systems appears to indicate that unprecedented interactive entertainment experiences, provided by a combination of the revolutionary nature of DS and Wii with the increasing number of unique software titles for the system from Nintendo and third parties, are being enjoyed by both avid and new gamers of all ages.”
The Wii is sold in the country for £179 and is part of the company’s Touch Generations campaign.
This year’s London Games Festival is shaping up to be quite an event, with over 40 events taking place all over the British capital, it will become mighty crazy. The organizers of the event are now calling independent game developers, distributors and smaller players to participate in the event. Here’s the deal:
In addition to events from large publishers and hardware manufacturers, London Games Festival will include a number of exciting events exploring aspects of interactive entertainment as culture, creative form and new markets. The fringe is designed to recognise that many computer games and most digital play falls beyond the scope of the games industry.
The Fringe will reflect a spectrum of activity: independent game development and distribution, participatory community play, the future of game design, artists’ games, live action role-play, augmented reality games, casual games, interactive storytelling and more. The Fringe will involve performance, exhibitions, master classes and seminars, participatory workshops and, of course, opportunities to play.
The London Games Fringe is open to anyone who wants to get involved. The festival is looking for people who are keen to create their own events under the ‘London Games Festival Fringe’ umbrella and will support these satellite events through online and print promotion, marketing support, partnerships and venue space. These may be seminar events, street games, performances or exhibitions.
Fringe events including a week long Game lab – developing new concepts and ideas, Sense of play – a game design symposium, and Head Trauma – a cinema based alternate-reality game. The festival runs from October 22 to 26.
Winners of the UK Xbox Soundtracks competition have been announced: a pair of university students Sam Featherstone and Nick Warpole. For the past month thousands of musicians and gamers from across Europe have been creating tracks inspired by Xbox 360 games like Halo 3 and Viva Pinata. After rounds of voting, Sam and Nick have emerged the winner.
Nick, 22, and Sam, 21, are both university students who have been friends since forming a band together at school, and heard about the Soundtracks competition after reading about it on Xbox Live. They based their winning entry on the trailer for forthcoming Xbox 360 title Assassin Creed using synthesizers, a live guitar and the impressive vocals of a friend to produce a track the judges of the competition deemed a perfect fit for the stunning visuals of the trailer. It took Sam and Nick three weeks to produce and their efforts will see them get to spend time in a Universal recording studio with a professional engineer.
Nick said: ‘Sam and I are both really passionate about our music and our gaming, so it has been great to be able to combine the two in such a fun way. We wanted to make something that complemented the dynamics of the trailer and that sounded impressive enough to win over musicians and gamers alike – now we’ve won, we can’t wait to claim our prize!’
These guys will get to visit Universal Music studio to record their tune with the help of top producers and engineers.
Microsoft also announced that they are working on a compilation album with Universal Music based around the idea of gaming. Dubbed START, the album will include music from artists such as Kasabian, Scissor Sisters and more. It will be available across Europe next month.
Microsoft has followed up on its US price drops with a similar reduction for gamers across the pond. The company has reduced the Core Xbox 360 console to £179.99 (£20 reduction) and the Premium to £249.99 (£30 reduction); it has also introduced the Elite model in the region for £299.99. This price cut will come into effect starting this Friday.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer Xbox 360 at a new, lower estimated retail price,” said Stephen McGill, Head of Gaming & Entertainment, Xbox UK. “We pioneered the successful concept of multiple products for multiple categories of consumer. First-timers will love the Xbox 360 Core system, which offers an affordable entry into high-definition gaming. The Xbox 360 Elite, with its large hard drive and wireless controller, will appeal to casual and experienced gamers and families. The Xbox 360 opens up whole new avenues of entertainment for those who seek the ultimate gaming and entertainment experience.
Quite a few triple-A games will be screened at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival that will be held at Edinburgh University from August 13-15. The screening taking place on August 14 at the Odeon Cinema, Lothian Road will offer two world premieres: Rise of the Argonauts and Turning Point, as well as the European premiere for Guitar Hero III, along with Unreal Tournament 2007, Assassin’s Creed and BioShock.
“The Edinburgh Interactive Festival gives gamers their only chance to see the latest games for PC and console weeks or months before they hit the market,” said Brian Baglow, Edinburgh Interactive Festival 2007 screenings director. “They also get to chance to meet some of the people behind the biggest games in the world and find out more about the strange industry that creates hits like Grand Theft Auto, The Sims and Halo.”
“We’ve even got a session for non-gamers. If you’ve never, ever picked up a joystick, wouldn’t buy a PlayStation 3 at gunpoint and are confused by kids spending eight hours a day wrestling with a joypad, come to the casual games screening. We’ll open your eyes to a whole new world of wonder and fun – and give you something far more interesting to do with your home computer, mobile phone and TV controller.”
Full lineup of screenings can be found after the jump.
This year’s Golden Joystick Awards nominees have been announced, marking the 25th anniversary of the UK’s oldest and biggest award ceremony. The second round of shortlist voting has already begun, with users now able to logon to the event’s site and choose their favorites from 17 categories.
Shortlisted nominees this year include Guitar Hero II, GTA 4, Crysis, Okami, God of War 2 and many other games. The ceremony will be hosted by David Mitchell, star of Channel 4’s Peep Show and feature film Magicians, at London’s Park Lane, Hilton hotel on October 26.
The full, long list of nominees after the jump.
Following Manhunt 2‘s rejection from BBFC over its rating, Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive have appealed the decision with the Video Game Appeals Committee. A date has now been set for the hearing, which will take into account both the BBFC and Rockstar’s position; they will also view demonstrations from the game to back up their views.
The decision of releasing the game now lies with the chairman of the VAC John Woods. BBFC originally rejected the game, effectively banning it from release, for its “unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone.”
Owners of the PPS in the UK and Ireland will soon be able to view on-demand video on the Sony console, thanks to a joint venture company set up by SCEE and SKY.
The company, with equal board level representation from either company, will offer a video download service offering a wealth of video and film content to more than 2.3 million PSP users in the region. The company is also in talks to extend the service to other European countries.
More information on the service will be announced at the Leipzig Games Convention on August 22.
In an interview on semi-official Sony blog Three Speech, SCEE president David Reeves has said that they did consider a price cut in Europe, but that it was too early for it and would “annoy a lot of people.”
“We’ve only been on the market for three and a bit months,” he said. “Our thought process was ‘wait a minute, we’re actually not doing too badly – we’re not selling as well as Wii or DS – but seasonality-wise, compared to, say, PS2 at the same time we launched it in 2001, we’re actually doing quite well on a regional level’.”
He then went on to say that the UK is a unique market in the region, claiming that it leads to more intensive price wars. Also of note in the interview is the fact that he’s considering Q4 2008 – Christmas 08, specifically – as the real battleground for the console wars.
“I think each peak is crucial to maximise what you can do, but I don’t think this Christmas is necessarily the most critical one – I think that’s going to be Christmas 08. I see this more as kind of like a tsunami – it starts small and gathers speed, and eventually, after four or five years, it will start to take you over. At least, that’s the way we’ve mapped it out.”