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Gaming News Round-Up: November 9th, 2004

Today's round-up includes financial results for Vivendi, news of an included 'thumb strap' for the Nintendo DS, and Konami's new Japanese game division financials. - Med...
Today's round-up includes financial results for Vivendi, news of an included 'thumb strap' for the Nintendo DS, and Konami's new Japanese game division financials. - Media company Vivendi Universal has released its financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2004. Including all divisions spanning music, telecommunications, games and so on, Vivendi Universal reported consolidated revenues at €4,703 million ($6.06 billion USD), with revenues on a comparable basis up 6%. However, the Vivendi Universal Games division reported revenues for the third quarter of €63 million ($81 million USD), down against last year by 18%, attributed to strong sellers last year that included both Simpsons: Hit & Run and Blizzard's Warcraft III expansion. The top sellers during the third quarter were Crash Twinsanity, Chronicles Of Riddick, and continued, if belated sales of Simpsons: Hit & Run. Meanwhile, looking at the first nine months, VUG reported revenues of €211 million ($272 million USD), down against last year by 33%, once again citing strong sales and stronger product line up during last year. Looking ahead, though, VUG will soon be releasing Half-Life 2 and World Of Warcraft in the next few days, guaranteeing somewhat better impending results for the troubled division, which has laid off staff in recent months in attempts to streamline. - Consumer website IGN has reported a hands-on look at the U.S. retail version of Nintendo's DS dual-screen handheld, and particularly notable among the bundled items is a wrist strap that doubles as a 'thumb strap'. Since one of the major control methods for the DS is by the touchscreen, this thumb device, which includes a small, pointed piece of plastic attached to the end of the wrist strap, allows control of the touchscreen without the player smearing his hands over the screen. Nintendo has also included the traditional pen-sized stylus, but according to the IGN reviewers, this method allows the player a lot more altitude to press other DS buttons while he or she operates the touchscreen, and may help overall controllability for the innovative interface. - Konami Corporation of Japan has reported its financial results for the six-months ended September 30th, 2004. Seemingly driven in part by sales of popular World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 for the PlayStation 2, which has so far sold over a million copies, Konami reported net sales of 114,009 million yen ($1.0 billion USD), up 12.3% over last year. Looking ahead at future game releases, Konami plans on releasing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Enthusia Professional Racing, European Club Soccer Winning Eleven Tactics and additional titles in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, making for a promising and stronger line-up for the second half of the year. However, recent news that the company was reporting downward earnings forecasts relating to Konami affiliates Takara Co., Ltd. and Hudson Soft Co., Ltd overshadowed the generally reasonable results a little.

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