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Video Game Industry

July 14, 2008 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
Swinging from circus romp to buttoned-down boring, the annual video game confab known as E3 kicks off today in downtown Los Angeles like an overgrown teenager grappling with an identity crisis and longing for the world to take it seriously. Now in its 14th year, an undercurrent of factionalism has cast a shadow over what should be the $40-billion industry's biggest event, a chance to showcase hundreds of games -- some of which have the potential to make more money than many Hollywood movies.
December 3, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
Activision Inc. and Vivendi announced a deal Sunday that would put "Guitar Hero" and "World of Warcraft" under one corporate roof and knock the king of the video game industry, Electronic Arts Inc., into second place. Vivendi, the French conglomerate that owns Universal Music Group, said it would pay $1.7 billion in cash and contribute its Los Angeles-based games business, valued at $8.1 billion, for a 52% stake in a company to be called Activision Blizzard. It would be worth an estimated $18.
November 30, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
Kathleen Buczko, a mother of three, is the toy industry's Grinch this year. She plans to cut her spending on toys by 25%. To the video game industry, she's more like Santa -- because she's boosting her game budget by 600%. One big reason, the San Pedro resident said, is that she wants to protect her 5-year-old son from another toy crisis. Two of his favorite playthings -- a Mattel Inc. die-cast car and a Thomas the Tank Engine train by RC2 Corp.
November 26, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
It takes a certain mind-set to invent a gadget that causes a video game's villains to start disco dancing. For Insomniac Games, an independent studio in Burbank, the Groovitron is a signature touch -- zany, unexpected and over the top. Other wacky weapons in Insomniac's latest game, "Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction," include the Transformer, which morphs enemies into cute penguins, and the Gelanator, which traps foes in cubes of lime gelatin.
November 12, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
For many parents, figuring out which video games are safe for kids can itself be a maddening game. Most game reviews in fan magazines and on enthusiast websites don't offer much help, with their fixation on geeky details such as frame rates, texture maps and physics engines. The packaging gives parents a few clues -- whether the game contains violence, strong language or sexual innuendoes -- but little else.
July 24, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
"Guitar Hero" has helped turn Activision Inc. into an entertainment-industry hero. The popular video game helped the Santa Monica company swing into the No. 1 spot in video game sales for the first half of 2007, according to data released Monday by the NPD Group, a research firm. Activision became the first independent publisher this decade to knock out Electronic Arts Inc., ringing up $397.
June 28, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
Video-game buffs might feel hooked on their favorite titles, but they won't be officially addicted anytime soon. Saying the issue needed more study, the American Medical Assn. on Wednesday scaled back a controversial proposal that sought to declare excessive video-game playing a mental disorder akin to pathological gambling. The association also decided against urging parents to limit to two hours a day the amount of time their kids play video games, watch television and surf the Internet.
May 9, 2007 | Alex Pham, Times Staff Writer
Electronic Arts Inc. has a need for speed -- because its current pace is disappointing investors. Slowing down as the rest of the industry gains momentum, the world's biggest video game publisher Tuesday posted a wider quarterly loss and declining sales. It is making a bumpy transition to the next generation of consoles, which includes Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Co.'s Wii.
January 13, 2007 | From the Associated Press
A strong December capped off a record year for the video game industry, with U.S. sales of software, hardware and accessories up 19% to $12.5 billion in 2006, according to market research firm NPD Group. Last year saw the long-awaited launch of new gaming systems from Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp., but older systems dominated software and hardware sales in part because of a scarcity of next-generation consoles.
November 26, 2006 | Patrick Day, Times Staff Writer
IT started as a goof -- an easy way for gamers to share their latest tricks online. An option in the first-person shooter "Quake" allowed players to record and save "Quake Movies" for later viewing. Soon, players were recording other games, dubbing in dialogue, creating characters and story lines, setting up impressive-looking shots and actually doing a bit of editing.
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