Video Games: Battles and Beatles

Video Games: Battles and Beatles
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First Published: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 10 04 PM IST

War of the worlds: Blizzard’s StarCraft II is a sequel to a game that centres on the galactic struggle for dominance by three species. Blizzard Entertainment
War of the worlds: Blizzard’s StarCraft II is a sequel to a game that centres on the galactic struggle for dominance by three species. Blizzard Entertainment
Updated: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 10 04 PM IST
Publishers plan to release video games across a broader range of genres in hopes that cash-strapped consumers will choose to stay home and play games this year instead of going out to do something like watch movies.
War of the worlds: Blizzard’s StarCraft II is a sequel to a game that centres on the galactic struggle for dominance by three species. Blizzard Entertainment
After impressive growth over the past few years, video-game sales are expected to slow in 2009. The industry is forecast to grow just 5% in 2009 from an estimated $10.3 billion (around Rs50,000 crore) in 2008, according to research firm Arcadia Investment Corp. Any growth in this slow economy could be viewed as positive, but video games had been doing far better. The industry is expected to have grown about 20% in 2008.
Hoping to capitalize on the success of its Rock Band music game series and the timeless popularity of the Beatles, MTV licensed the rights to use songs by the group for a game this year. Players aspiring to perform like the Fab Four can play with the same guitar, drums and microphone-like controllers used for Rock Band.
Sequels to popular game series are expected to drive the industry this year. One of the biggest winners in this category is likely to be Activision Blizzard Inc., whose Blizzard Entertainment unit is set to launch two major titles for PCs.
Battle in hell: Diablo III is a role-playing game. Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard’s StarCraft II is a sequel to a game that centres on the galactic struggle for dominance by three species. The real-time strategy game, which can be played in both single-player and multi-player mode, is designed to be a trilogy with two follow-up expansion packs, or add-ons that supply additional content to a game, and typically broaden its storyline. Another Blizzard title, Diablo III, is the latest instalment of a popular action role-playing game about the conflict between angels and demons.
Owners of video- game consoles won’t be neglected in 2009. For its Xbox 360, Microsoft Corp. is expected to launch Halo 3: ODST, the prequel to its first-person shooter game Halo 3, which has sold more than eight million copies since its September 2007 launch.
One of the biggest releases this year, due in February, is likely to be a supplement called The Lost and Damned for the action-adventure game Grand Theft Auto IV by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s Rockstar Games unit. Activision also plans this year to launch the follow up to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a?2007 best-seller.
Nintendo Co.’s Wii console is well on its way to selling 50 million units since its November 2006 launch. The company hopes to keep up the momentum this year with Wii Sports Resort, a sequel to Wii Sports. The new game introduces activities such as water skiing and sword fighting using the Wii’s intuitive controllers.
For fans of the Sims real-life simulation PC game, Electronic Arts Inc. will launch the sequel The Sims 3 in February.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
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First Published: Fri, Jan 16 2009. 10 04 PM IST