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Online Entertainment Insider - April 13, 2012

by Wonacott Communications

The past few editions of the OEI have touched upon the impending next-gen consoles. But as we all know, rumors are the most delicious part of the video game industry, and this rumor is a whopper. Valve, the company behind the highly successful Portal, Half-life and Team Fortress series, are looking for console hardware engineers. What that means for Valve and the 30-million plus users of its Steam digital distribution platform isn’t clear, but a new challenger for the console wars would certainly shake up the industry. 

Skyrim, which won several “Game of the Year” awards for 2011 is making the living room more dangerous by integrating more than 200 functions into Kinect’s character and speech recognition systems for the Xbox 360. I question how popular the Kinect integration for Skyrim will be, since screaming in-game commands such as “FUS RO DAH” at the television set may have not be suitable for those with roomates, thin walls or decency, but it’s good to see such elaborate support for the Kinect and hopefully will lead the way in fine-tuning voice and motion controls for larger titles.

Europe has several hot spots for game development, but if the legislation proposed by Italian lawmakers passes, Italy may jump to the top of that list. The legislation offers tax credits and shelters specifically for the games industry, making Italy attractive to start-up companies and venture capitalists. It also would provide a benefit for PR firms who would get the chance to hold press studio tours in the Tuscan wine region (ahem).

Find out more news from around the world of digital entertainment in this week’s edition of the Online Entertainment Insider, and have a great weekend!

The Industry
U.S. Retail Game Sales Suffer Continuing Decline in March
DigiPen Offers New Undergraduate Programs in Sound Design
Tablet Sales Will See a Dramatic Rise in 2012, Says Analyst
Why Video Games are Good for You — the Cheat Sheet
Italy Law Proposal Bringing Tax Benefits for Game Development

The Players
Nintendo Cuts Partnership with Major European Conference
Xfire Hires Former Tencent Exec As CEO, Now Supports Chinese Language In-Game Chat
UK-Based Startup Game Company Reaches One Million Players
Capcom Announces Lost Planet 3
Starbreeze: More To Life Than AAA
Sony Expects Biggest Loss Ever, 10 Thousand Laid Off; Games a Pillar for Future
DICE Appoints Bach as Temporary CEO
Nintendo Registers Super Mario 4 Domain

The Entertainment
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes Enters Open Beta
Mass Effect 3 Sells Millions
Skullgirls Launches, Review
Skyrim Getting Kinect Support
Darksiders II Video Preview
Golf MMO Pangya United Celebrates Three Years with Item Giveaway
Ni no Kuni Delayed until Q1 2013
Tribes: Ascend Takes Off its Training Wheels, Launches Today
World of Tanks Celebrates 24 Million Users

The Technology
Valve Job Listing Points to Hardware Plans for 'Whole New Gaming Experiences'
Xbox 360 is No. 1 in March With 371,000 Units Sold

Upcoming Events
DEMO
, Silicon Valley, April 17-19, 2012
LA Games Conference, Los Angeles, April 23-24, 2012
Digital Hollywood, Los Angeles, April 30 - May 3, 2012
E3, Los Angeles, June 5 - 7, 2012
MobileBeat / GamesBeat, San Francisco, July 10 - 11, 2012 
San Diego Comic-Con, San Diego, July 12-15, 2012
Gamescom, Cologne, Aug. 15-19, 2012
GDC Online, Austin, Oct. 10-13, 2012

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