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Round Up: Retail Stores OK, No Internal HD DVD, Sony Taxes

Today's round-up includes news of positive in-store retail outlook in the midst of online game distribution, an update from Microsoft denying plans for an internal Xbox 3...
Today's round-up includes news of positive in-store retail outlook in the midst of online game distribution, an update from Microsoft denying plans for an internal Xbox 360 HD DVD, and Sony owing money to the Tokyo tax authority due to underreporting, as well as the latest GameSetWatch posts, product news, Serious Games Source news, and Gamasutra job postings. - A new update from analyst firm Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian has indicated that retail stores such as GameStop should not worry quite yet with regards to loosing out to their online counterparts. The report even indicated that once online retail outlets get the upper hand, brick-and-mortar shops could still play a significant role by offering their own game download service, or selling cards that could be used for micro-purchases online. "While traditional retailers may appear to be the odd one out of this emerging digital market, we believe it will be at least several years before consumers are regularly downloading full console games due to storage capacity constraints, bandwidth issues, and piracy concerns," commented Sebastian in the report. - In an update to an earlier story posted today, Microsoft noted via official Xbox PR-related website Gamerscoreblog.com that the company currently does not have any plans to release an Xbox 360 with a built-in HD DVD drive. “What we showcased at E3 was an external HD DVD drive, and we're sticking with that.” The earlier report has come from Mark Whittard, Toshiba's general manger of the company's Information Systems Division in Australia, who predicted that Microsoft would release a version of the console with an internal HD DVD drive before the end of 2006. - Popular consumer website GameSpot has translated a report from Japanese website ITmedia which indicated that Sony has been asked to pay the Tokyo tax authority an extra 27.9 billion yen ($244 million) due to underreporting of its video game-related business. The tax penalty is the result of the "transfer price tax system," which is in place to keep companies from taking advantage of a loophole and saving money by performing transactions between their domestic and overseas affiliates at lower prices. The report indicated that both Sony and SCE will protest the taxes, and have released a statement that noted: “We have always made appropriate tax payments in compliance with the tax codes of [the relevant] countries; this notice [from the tax bureau] is unsatisfactory." - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include the Metal Gear Saga DVD winners, an interview with Trip Hawkins, and a look at the endings for Fist Of North Star. - Also updated today: Serious Games Source news featuring an exclusive feature on a new library in Second Life, plus Gamasutra product news on the announcement of Vue 6, as well as the latest Gamasutra job postings, featuring openings from Datascope Recruitment, LucasArts, Pixar Animation Studios, THQ, and Volition.

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