It's a sad day indeed when development studios shutter their doors. It's sadder when they disappear in the name of cold-hearted corporate efficiency.

News Blips:

BlurActivision shuts down Bizarre Creations (James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Blur, Project Gotham Racing) and Budcat Creations (Blast Works). A slew of rumors this morning — propagated by a lengthy NeoGAF forum thread and multiple Tweets — drew attention to the abrupt layoff of Bizarre's 200-strong staff. Shortly thereafter, "anonymous development sources" told PC Gamer that Budcat was also rumored to be closing. Activision confirmed its closing of both studios to Shacknews, attributing Bizarre's demise to Blur "not finding a commercial audience." Budcat, known for its PlayStation 2 ports of the Guitar Hero games, was closed during a "targeted reduction in jobs" in order for Activision to "streamline [its] music development resources." Silly me, I was almost duped into believing that Activision's studios could achieve success without having anything to do with Call of Duty.

The special edition of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds will include two exclusive downloadable characters to play. Resident Evil's Jill Valentine and Marvel's Shuma-Gorath join the roster of combatants for those purchasing the special edition, which also comes with a steel art book, a 12-page prologue comic, and a month's subscription to Marvel Digital Comics. Finally, Capcom pegged February 15 as the game's launch date. Bonus plot exposition in exchange for my hard-earned cash? Sign me up!

Codemasters Chief Executive Officer Rod Cousens says the current market for pre-owned games is destructive. "The way it's structured today is destructive, and it's negative to creativity and innovation," he told "I believe it has to be managed — there's an element of it which is acceptable, and there's an element that isn't." He went on to call the strained relationship between publishers and retailers "ridiculous," when both should strive to work together for better business. It looks like the transition from a boxed business model to one that incorporates digital distribution is taking an ugly turn.

A study conducted by researchers at Yale University highlights the different impacts gaming causes to boys and girls. The research anonymously surveyed 4,028 teens aged between 14 and 18 on "any problems with gaming and other health behaviors" as well as their gaming habits. In an initial analysis of the results, boy gamers were less likely to smoke cigarettes or marijuana while being more likely to get better grades. Interestingly, gamer girls were found to be more violent. I suggest a new strategy, guys: Let the girlfriend win. [MedPage Today]

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