As I am sure everyone knows, Time magazine compiles an annual list of the top 100 influential folks. Head on over to its Web site and you can find some admirable people on the list (Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, etc.) and some not so admirable people (Ayman Al Zawahiri, Paris Hilton), all of whom can receive votes. Second on the list of vote-getters is a pleasing choice for gamers, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto. Hall of fame classics such as the Zelda, Super Mario, and Donkey Kong series, not mention much of Wii's success, can be laid at his feet.
Considering that the No. 1 pick is Stephen Colbert (190,661 votes; Miyamoto had 60,283 as of midweek), we would bet that Internet-savvy youth and young adults are at play here.
That doesn't skew the relevance of these votes (and it is quite early in the year); it's just that mainstream pop personalities are changing. And for the better, I think.
If it wasn't bad enough that we've had to hear Snoop Dogg's rationalization of his use of derogatory female terms (Note to record labels: A greater variety of hip-hop voices would lessen the scrutiny of words), now we hear of his tantrum over the lack of an Xbox at a UNICEF fund-raiser last week.
Even though his appearance fee was $150 grand, Snoop also insisted that an Xbox be put in his dressing room. With no Xbox in sight upon his arrival, Snoop refused to take the stage until a rep borrowed her son's console for the rapper to use. After an hour of playing (and supposedly filling a room full of smoke), Snoop hit the stage very late.
Where to even begin?
First, is it normal for people to charge fees to appear at a UNICEF benefit? It's UNICEF, for crying out loud! How many of us gladly carried those little cardboard coin boxes at Halloween when we were kids?! Why in the world would anyone take money from them? During a benefit, no less!?!?
Lastly, dude, for 150 grand, you should have your own traveling Xbox (with all your own saves and settings). One would think that the D, O, double G, a gamer who started the Hip Hop Gaming league, would have his situation tighter than that. You didn't check "yo-self," cuzzin. Now, in the eyes of many, you "wrecked yo-self."
Microsoft holding hands?
The battle for handheld-gaming supremacy hasn't changed since the Nintendo DS hit the market in 2004. It has simply crushed anything in its path, reaching 36-plus million of the touch screen marvels sold. Just last month, the DS sold 508,000, compared with its closet rival, the Sony PSP, which sold 180,000, according to the NPD Group, the video-game marketing firm.
So why would Microsoft want to submit its own lamb to the slaughter? Who knows, but a patent the company filed in 2005 for a network that links handheld gaming and console devices was just approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Rumors have been spreading for sometime that MS's portable music player, the Zune, is the platform that the company will use for portable gaming. Isn't the Zune bombing as an MP3 player right now?
If all of this is true, MS may be losing focus a bit. Sony is down but by no means out, and Nintendo is ... well ... the "spankmaster" right now in handhelds and consoles.
Lower Xbox 360 prices and better quality control would be my focus right now.
PC games sales? WoW!
According to the NPD Group, sales of PC games have exploded this year with $203 million in sales in the first two months. That is an increase of 48 percent over the first two months of 2006.
It's obvious where all this money is coming from as Blizzard's World of Warcraft expansion pack, Burning Crusade, hit shelves in January and sold more the 1.5 million copies in little over a month.
Still, who cares how the PC game industry got to these numbers. The bottom line is that PC gaming, once thought to be on its deathbed, is picking itself up. Games like the recently released Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars and the often-hyped shooter Crysis (due in the fall) should keep the keyboard and mouse in play for a long time.