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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nintendo Wii owners will buy a Sony PlayStation 3 in 2008


Sony's key growth may come not only from its PS2 installed base upgrading to PS3, but also from millions of Wii owners looking for a second console, according to iSuppli, which called 2008 a "turning year" for PS3.

Research firm iSuppli, who forecast earlier this month that Sony's PlayStation 3 would eek out a victory in the console war by 2011, has told Reuters that 2008 will be a "turning year" for the PS3. "Sony is offering a better forthcoming software pipeline with blockbuster titles like Gran Turismo 5, which will boost PS3 sales this year," said iSuppli analyst Pamela Tufegdzic.

Importantly, Tufegdzic is looking at Nintendo's Wii audience as a driver of PS3 sales. She believes Sony will drop the price on its console enticing Wii owners to finally get a second, more powerful system. "We anticipate Sony will have another price slash on the PS3 this year, and come Christmas, consumers who originally bought the Wii will likely purchase the PS3," Tufegdzic said. "The battle over consoles ultimately boils down to price."

Another strong point for the PS3 of course will be its Blu-ray victory over HD DVD. As more consumers upgrade to HDTV and HD movies, there's a good chance they could look to the PS3 as their first Blu-ray player. "People may buy the PS3 not only for their gaming needs, but for video as well, which gives the PS3 a unique competitive edge over the Wii and Xbox 360 well into the longer term," Tufegdzic noted.

With the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4 launching on June 12, along with a new hardware bundle including the game and a DualShock 3 controller, the PS3 could have a strong summer. Konami Digital Entertainment CEO Kazumi Kitaue likened the release of MGS4 to a Hollywood summer blockbuster, and you can bet that Sony has high hopes that Solid Snake will do for PS3 what Master Chief and Halo have done for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Source: Game Daily

Donkey Kong Jet Race - not worth the wait on Nintendo Wii


Donkey Kong Jet Race
Wii
Classification: G
Price: $99.95(Australia) £29.99 (UK) $39.90 (US)
Rating: 2 out of 5

Poor old Donkey Kong - once again he's had people making a monkey of him. Strapped to a couple of rocket barrels and jettisoned towards a finish line, he's got little to do in Jet Race other than gobble bananas and drift out of the way of precariously placed obstacles. As far as racing games go, this is nothing to go ape over.

Jet Race has a string of simian stars from a bunch of other Donkey Kong offshoot games. The cheeky monkeys Diddy, Candy, Kranky, Funky and Dixie don't exactly make for a stellar line-up but they do exhibit a certain goofy charm that younger gamers will enjoy.

Much like the brilliant Mario Kart, scooping up bananas gives you a momentary burst of speed, while popping balloons rewards your character with power boosts that help you in the race. Whirlwinds can sap your opponents' bananas, a Backward Barrel can be dropped behind you to knock someone out, a Tasty Melon can make you invincible and the Pineapple Launcher attacks the character in front of you with a spiky fruit to the back of the head.

To provide some kind of obligatory Wii motion control activity, players must vigorously shake both the remote and Nunchuk controllers up and down - as if slapping an invisible bongo drum - to accelerate. Once you hit top speed, it's a case of waggling your left or right hand to indicate the direction in which you want your character to turn.

This clumsy control method is imprecise and too slow for responding to sudden make-or-break manoeuvres. As the races get faster and the circuits begin to overflow with objects that can bring your character to a devastating halt, shaking your hands to weave through danger becomes needlessly frustrating.

ENDGAME The control method is a mess, so wait for a more conventional racing game to come along if you want to take your Wii for a wild ride.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Game Crazy Hosts Knock Down, Drag Out, Video Game Fun, with Super Smash Bros. Brawl Launch Parties


Game Crazy, a leading video game retailer, is giving fans the ultimate opportunity to punch, kick and smash their way to game-related prizes at launch parties for the eagerly awaited third installment of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series.

Beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 8th, Game Crazy stores across the country are staying open late for fans who want to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii system. The new game goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 9th.

To celebrate the launch of the new game, Game Crazy is encouraging fans of all ages to come dressed as their favorite video game character. Many stores will be hosting Super Smash Melee and Wii Sports tournaments for prizes while fans wait for the new game to officially go on sale. Game Crazy is also holding a text-to-win contest in which customers can win a $250 gift card.

“We’ve had a lot of pre-orders for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and from what we’ve seen of the game already we know it’s going to be one of the most innovative and entertaining titles to come out in a long time,” said Dave Hulegaard, game enthusiast and buyer for Game Crazy. “This game features an incredible number of hall of fame characters. Finally Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pikachu and many others can duke it out for the ultimate bragging rights. It’s also infinitely customizable so you can replay the game over and over and never have exactly the same experience.”

Hulegaard believes fans will be most excited about a sprawling adventure mode in the game called “The Subspace Emissary.” “It’s a full game in itself,” he said. “Players jump and brawl their way through enemy-packed side-scrolling levels, meeting up with other characters, watching incredible cinematics and taking on massive bosses. What makes this mode even cooler is that Super Smash Bros. Brawl has Wi-Fi capability so up to four players can brawl against each other remotely.”

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is rated T for teen audiences. Fans looking for more information about Game Crazy’s launch parties in their area can go to www.gamecrazy.com.

Source: Business Wire

SCI Entertainment announced steep losses and cut 25% of their staff


SCI Entertainment, the owner of the Tomb Raider games, has announced steep losses and a major business revamp.
The computer games maker said losses in the six months to the end of December were £81.4m ($161.6m) compared with a £17.9m loss a year ago.

New chief executive Phil Rogers cancelled 14 projects and announced 260 job losses - 25% of the firm's staff.

He also said the revamp could cost up to £55m and added that it might have to sell shares to cover the cost.

More from the BBC

Weekly Microsoft XBox 360 Rock Band Downloadable Content (Week 10)


Harmonix and MTV Games today announced that the Grateful Dead will be featured in the next batch of downloadable tracks available for Rock Band. Starting the week of March 4, 2008, players will be able grab any or all of the six classic tracks—including Truckin', Casey Jones and I Need A Miracle —from the famous Northern California jam band that featured Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and others.

Additionally, the companies claimed that the game's fans can expect to see more from the group: “Over the next several months, the iconic group will make a total of 18 master recordings from its diverse catalog available as digitally distributed game levels for Rock Band.”

Details are as follows:

Release date:
March 4, 2008 (Xbox Live Marketplace)
March 6, 2008 (PlayStationStore)

Tracks:
Grateful Dead Pack
China Cat Sunflower
Casey Jones 
Sugar Magnolia
Truckin’
Franklin’s Tower 
I Need A Miracle 

(All six tracks utilize the original master recordings)

Price: $9.99 (880 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) per pack or
$1.99 (160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) per track

Locations: Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store
** Dates for Rock Band game tracks are tentative and subject to change **

Source: Team XBox

ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS 1.5 PATCH DOWNLOAD


Feeling lucky? Splash Damage has released a beta patch for Quake Wars today. Here's the poop:

Good news: There's light at the end of the license tunnel! We've at last received the proper license files for both the Competition Mod and the 1.5 game update. With that in mind, we're now prepping them for release and hope to get them out as soon as possible (for real!).

Since we want to make sure that both releases are as solid as can be, we've decided to run public beta phases for them - this will allow us to iron out any remaining stability issues and also make sure that the backend infrastructure is working properly. Both of these are the most difficult things to test for and since we've had a few issues crop up in 1.4 that didn't surface during our testing, we feel that a public beta phase is in the best interest of the game and the players.

Download here

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: 1.65 Million Copies Sold


From Ukraine to the official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. forums, to Google Translate to Dozerking, to me:

The poster translated the article, saying the CEO of GSC, Sergei Grigorovich, reported sales of 950,000 units in CIS, while selling 700,000 units in the rest of the world, almost all at full price. That would total about 1.65 Million copies plus, since the interview.

GSC proves, once again, that PC gaming isn't dead.

Source: IGN Voodoo Extreme

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VE3D Video for Worms: A Space Oddity (Wii) - Trailer


Watch it on ve3d

New shots for the Wii version of Worms have emerged online, pointing to some variations within the traditional gameplay.

Meteor showers seem to replace the air strike option, whilst flying saucers deliver power-ups and crates containing health packs.


The last shot particularly confuses us, as it looks like an alien spaceship is actively firing on the worms. How can that be fair?

Activision say half a billion dollars plus to take on World of Warcraft


Speaking at an investor meeting, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has said that he thinks it would take an investment of half a billion to a billion dollars to take on World of Warcraft - and even then, success isn't guaranteed.

"We don't think that even if we made the USD 500 million or billion-dollar investment to get a product out [to compete with WOW] that we would even be successful doing it," he said.

Late last year, Activision took a different route, merging with Warcraft owners Vivendi to create Activision Blizzard.

"When we first started looking at it, it appeared to us like a game in an insurmountable product category... EA, Microsoft, Sony and scores of venture capital investments had been put to work unsuccessfully in trying to develop massively multiplayer games as a product opportunity," Kotick said.

"When you... Look at all the money that's already gone to these businesses that have failed, there didn't seem a likelihood that even a well-managed company like Activision would have the prospect for profit any time soon in this category."

Kotick also paid tribute to the talent at WOW developers Blizzard. "They have a model that is very well-developed, they have a very keen understanding of their audiences, and they're just scratching the surface of opportunity in a lot of areas... These guys are among the best in the world of game development."

Kotick was speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium 2008 Conference on Tuesday this week.

Source: Games Industry

Activision Trademarks the DJ Hero name to add to Guitar Hero line up


Activision has been hitting it big with the Guitar Hero franchise, and we know it's looking to expand what it can do with the series. I don't think anyone is going to be surprised by this next bit of news: on February 8, Activision filed to trademark the name DJ Hero.

The trademark refers to "computer game software and related instruction manual sold together as a unit; interactive video game programs; computer game discs; downloadable software for use in connection with computer games; video game controllers; interactive video game comprised of a CD or DVD sold as a unit with a video game controller." It looks like your guitar is going to get a friend.

This isn't a new idea; Beatmania has been around for quite a while. Of course, Guitar Hero is simply a refined version of Guitar Freaks, so this won't be the first time Red Octane and Activision mine an area Konami has had some success in. There is no other information at this time, but it shouldn't be that difficult to adjust the Guitar Hero formula to a DJ set up.

We'll be watching for more information, but it's safe to say that this is the last Hero game we'll be hearing about.

Source: Arstechnica

New video games in store this week for PlayStation Wii and XBox 360


Sony PlayStation Portable owners get some off-the-wall treats in Sony's Patapon and Majesco's Blokus Portable: Steambot Championship.

War breaks out in Codemasters' Turning Point: Fall of Liberty on Microsoft XBox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 and THQ's Frontlines: Fuel of War on Microsoft XBox 360.

More mysteries await the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 in Ubisoft's Lost: Via Domus on Microsoft XBox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.

The Nintendo Wii has a little something for everyone, with the Adventure Co.'s Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, THQ's Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed and Sega Bass Fishing play now on Nintendo Wii

Enjoy...

Rocketmen: Axis of Evil on Microsoft XBox Live March 4 and Sony PlayStation Network March 5


Rocketmen To Rid Live Arcade, PlayStation Network Of Evil

Well, it's going to try. Capcom is bringing Rocketmen: Axis of Evil, based on the WizKids property of the same name, to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network next week, resulting in, I assume, either the removal of evil or a severe tilting of the titular axis.

Announced early last year, the top down shooter from A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games ticks off all the right features—multiple classes, online multiplayer, character customization, HD graphics.

We've yet to go hands-on with it, but if you feel like taking a shot for the respectable price of ten bucks, Rocketmen hits XBLA on Wednesday, March 5, arriving on PSN the day after.

Source: Kotaku

Okami's 16:9 On Nintendo Wii Looks Just Lovely

In case you missed it previously, Ready At Dawn confirmed to us a little while ago that yes, contrary to earlier reports, Okami on Wii would be running in full 16:9, a move that'll have a lot of people who already own it on PS2 considering a re-purchase.



Here's footage of what must be the final build of the game running and, well, there's not much more to say. It's one of the most beautiful games ever created, only now it's looking more beautiful.

Source: Kotaku

Bully: Scholarship Edition launch March 4th for the Xbox 360 and Wii


Bully: Scholarship Edition out Wednesday for the Xbox 360 and Wii

Rockstar Games is proud to announce that Bully: Scholarship Edition is coming to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the Wii home video game system from Nintendo this Winter.

Both the Wii and Xbox 360 versions will retain the wit and deep gameplay of the previously released PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system title and will boast additional new content. Bully: Scholarship Edition takes place in the fictional New England boarding school of Bullworth Academy, and tells the story of 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins as he experiences the highs and lows of adjusting to a new school. Capturing the hilarity and awkwardness of adolescence perfectly, Bully: Scholarship Edition pulls the player into its cinematic and engrossing world. Universally acclaimed upon first release, Bully: Scholarship Edition is a genre-crossing action game with a warmth and pathos that is unrivaled.

Bully received a perfect "10/10" from Electronic Gaming Monthly and 1up.com and was heralded as "a great, well-crafted action game that has one of the best senses of humor around" by IGN.com. USA Today called it "a fantastic debut title by Rockstar Vancouver." The San Francisco Chronicle wrote "Bully has no shortage of creative energy, offering an immersive boarding school experience that is imaginative, funny and filled with surprises."

Come and explore the zealous joy, mirth, and torment of youth with Jimmy Hopkins and Bully: Scholarship Edition when enrollment commences this fall.

More from: RockStar

Capcom Porting Resident Evil 0 to Wii


According to the latest issue of Japanese magazine Famitsu, Capcom is planning a remake of the prequel game Resident Evil 0 for the Wii in Japan. Resident Evil 0 first appeared on the GameCube in 2002.

The developers will rework the game's control scheme entirely for the Wii Remote, although the exact method of control is unknown. At the time of publish, no media exists that indicates a change in camera perspective from the original GameCube version.

Capcom has released two Resident Evil games for Nintendo's latest home console so far: Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, an enhanced port the GameCube thriller featuring redone controls, content from the PlayStation 2 version and a lower price; and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, which focuses on shooting with the Wii Remote in first-person perspective rather than exploration.

While no release date has been mentioned for any territories outside of Japan, Famitsu confirmed that Japanese players will find Resident Evil 0 on shelves this summer. Stay with The Wiire for all your Resident Evil-on-Wii needs.

Source: The wiire

Nintendo Wii outsells PS3 4-to-1 in Japan


Nintendo Co Ltd's (7974.OS: Quote, Profile, Research) Wii game console outsold Sony Corp's (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) PlayStation 3 nearly 4-to-1 in Japan in February as Wii software titles dominated the best seller list, a game magazine publisher said.

Nintendo sold 331,627 units of the Wii in the four weeks to February 24, compared with 89,131 units of the PS3, Enterbrain said on Thursday.

The Wii's lead on the PS3 appears to be widening: In January, Nintendo's game console outsold Sony's by almost 3-to-1.

Nintendo's own "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" for the Wii became the best-selling software for the month in Japan, with 1.33 million units sold, followed by the "Wii Fit" home fitness game, which sold 309,311 units in the four weeks, Enterbrain said.

The Wii has been leading the three-way game console battle with the PS3 and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox 360 as its strategy of offering easy-to-play and innovative games to expand the overall game population has proved a big success.

Microsoft, whose videogame business is struggling in Japan, home to both Sony and Nintendo, sold 14,079 Xbox 360 units.

Shares of Nintendo closed down 1.4 percent at 56,300 yen, while Sony fell 1.9 percent to 5,220 yen, underperforming the Nikkei average .N225, which was down 0.8 percent.

Source: Reuters

12-Inch DS-Holding Mario Says "Mama Mia, You'll-a Never Get a Girlfriend!"


This foot-tall Mario statue is actually a DS holder, with his grip specially designed to hold your portable gaming device.

It's the perfect way to make your bedroom look like a 1993 Toys R Us while also making sure your DS doesn't have to sully itself resting on any flat surfaces.

How can you say no?

Source: Gizmodo

FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008 Los Angeles March 1st



The FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008 is hitting Los Angeles this Saturday, March 1st .

This will be the only live qualifying event of the FIWC, and it will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the GameStop at 1000 Universal Studios Blvd., Universal City , CA.

FIWC will showcase 128 of the best interactive soccer players in North America competing for one of 32 berths in the FIWC Grand Final on May 24 in Berlin.

Up to 50 competitors can pre-register for the event by logging on to www.easports.com/fifa08/fiwc.jsp while the remaining 78 spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the event. That, of course, is based on eligibility restrictions. For more information, go to http://fifa08.ea.com/us.

Disney jump on the guitar hero bandwagon with Music Rhythm Video Game



Disney Interactive Studios announce a new music rhythm game for Wii and Nintendo DS today, called Ultimate Band . Designed not only for a teen-and-up audience, but for younger gamers as well, Ultimate Band gives players a chance to play solo or jam with friends, slightly similar to popular music rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band , without requiring them to take a hit to their bank accounts for specialized accessory controllers. The only controllers players will need for the game are the Wii Remote and Nunchuck or the Nintendo DS stylus, depending on which version they are playing of course.

Disney teamed up with London-based music consultants, Radial Music, to help pick out the track list for the game. Ultimate Band's track list will consist of a mix of music from a number of genres including roc k, alternative, pop, emo and indie, some of which will include current hits and all-time favourites.

"Radial worked closely with Disney to compile the perfect song list for Ultimate Band," said David Hill of Radial Music. “With iconic songs from every decade since the 60s, these games feature music for everyone." And who knows? Considering the money and influence Disney has, maybe we'll actually see music from bands like The Beatles appearing in a music rhythm game some time in the near future. Who are we kidding? Ultimate Band is currently slated to released this holiday season for Wii and Nintendo DS. Disney is expecting the game will receive an E10+ rating from the ESRB.

Source: Comic Book Bin

Disney and Wii Jam to Ultimate Band



Disney Interactive Studios has announced the development of Ultimate Band for Wii and DS. The game will primarily target younger gamers and those seeking a more affordable alternative to titles like EA's Rock Band and Activision's Guitar Hero.

Disney has collaborated with London-based music consultants Radical Music to ensure that Ultimate Band will feature the "very biggest names in rock, alternative, popular, emo and indie rock music, allowing band mates to play sets from a broad selection of current hits and all-time rock favourites." Every decade from the 1960s onward will apparently be represented.

Players will work their way through the musical ranks, starting in a neighborhood garage and progressing to international stage shows. New character costumes, accessories and venues will be unlockable. Multiplayer will be included, but Disney did not say in what capacity.



Players will be able to choose between four instruments in the game: guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Instead of peripherals, the game will employ the Wii Remote and Nunchuk for controlling these instruments. Disney did not say if connectivity between the Wii and DS versions will occur.

Disney's Nintendo-focused Fall Line Studios began work on Ultimate Band - the developer's first project - soon after the studio's creation in November 2006. Their work is expected to be completed by this autumn.

The Wiire will have more on Ultimate Band as information reaches our ears.

Source: The wiire

Video games make $18 billion last year


The one-day record holder for a movie premiere is Spiderman 3, which brought in $59 million in ticket sales on its opening day.

The Video Game Industry Profits from Multiple Platforms

The video game industry is broken down into games and consoles. Games can come in many different formats. Most are console games, meaning they only play on a specific company's game system - called a console, while the PC versions can play on any computer.

PC games represent only a small sales segment in the game market, but they have an incredible reach with users. Last year, 40% of all U.S. residents two years of age or older played an online game.
The console market is concentrated among a few game systems like Nintendo's Wii and DS, Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's X-Box 360. Consoles represent $9.35 billion in sales for the industry.

Aside from the tremendous time that goes into the coding and construction, labor is the largest cost in producing a game. Programmers can make $90k annually, or more. With the ability to locate offices in economical locations, and the ability to sublet work wherever it's cost efficient, the game industry can produce games for less.

The cost to make an average game can run from $10 to $50 million. When you compare that to the average 2007 movie cost of $106 million, you can see why the profit margins are so attractive.

Diverse platforms have given rise to a multitude of games as companies have rushed to meet the demands of numerous demographic segments.

New Players Have Opened up Huge New Markets

The stereotypes of video games being the domain of teenage boys, as well as being ultra-violent, are changing. Gamers are more likely to be older, young professionals who can afford to purchase games and consoles. The average gamer has been playing for roughly 12 years.

And men aren't the only ones playing these days…

Forty percent of all game players are women, and there are more women playing games (30% of all gamers) than there are boys under 17 years old (23%). Women represent a larger and larger population of game players every year.

Companies are tailoring their games to this growing audience, making games less violent and more family friendly. While the news likes to report that video games are getting more violent every year, the small number of violent-rated games is proof that the industry gets more bad press than it deserves.

Only 15.5% of last year's games were rated "M" for mature. The majority of games - 56.5% - were rated "E" for "Everyone 10+." The fastest growing segment in the games industry is the family segment that grew 110% from 9.1% to 17.6%.

As younger generations grow and have children of their own, more parents are playing video games than ever before - 36% of parents play video games. "Families that play together stay together" can now mean playing video games.

Eighty percent of gamer parents play video games with their kids.

Forty-seven percent of video game players are between the ages of 18 and 49. The fastest growing demographic is the 50-plus crowd. This doesn't mean that kids aren't playing video games anymore; far from it… they still represent 28% of all gamers out there.

More and more older Americans are playing video games than ever before. Video games are perfect activities for seniors by providing activity without physical stress. They offer health benefits with coordination, balance and endurance. 24% of Americans over age 50 played video games last year, and that number should only increase.

The average game buyer is 38 years old, five years older than the average player. This gap in age represents the scores of parents buying games for their children, and the tremendous influence parents have on sales.

Regardless of age brackets, entertainment traditionally declines during economic downturns and recessions. But the video game industry has defied conventional wisdom.

Why the Video Game Industry Does Better During Recessions
Economists haven't called our current downturn a recession yet, but there's no shortage of bad economic news to help support that argument.
The last recession the United States had was after Sept. 11, when technology demand crashed. Despite that, sales of video games during that period increased 43%. 2002 became a record year in video games, posting $7 billion in sales.

And it's happening again…
Retail sales in February fell by 0.06, but video games and equipment increased sales 34% over January to $1.33 billion. But this sales boom hasn't stopped.

Game sales hit $1.7 billion in March 2008. That's a 57% increase from the same time last year.
In the same way people 'cocoon' themselves during winter storms, consumers stay home more when the economy is down.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the increasing costs for entertainment have encouraged people to spend less, and as a result they are purchasing games that cost much more than the average movie ticket.

Time is the reason gamers are willing to spend the money for these products. While an average movie may run two to three hours, a new game may take an expert player 100 hours to finish.
A $50 to $60 cost for that game starts to look very reasonable. Especially when you consider the time spent playing these games means less time for spending money on more expensive entertainment options.

Even when hard times end, the game industry will continue to profit. Today's gamer is a devoted player logging an average of 7.5 hours a week playing games.

That's a dedicated player who will continue to buy and play games for years to come.


Source: Seeking Alpha