Video game console SKUs seem to be dropping like flies these days. Just 24 hours after hearing about how Japan may lose the 80GB PlayStation 3, rumors are starting to swirl about the Xbox 360 saying goodbye to its "Pro" model. The claim is only strengthened by the above image, which shows an Arcade box comparing only two consoles instead of the older box art (to the left), which looks at three.
Slated to release the same week as the movie is G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, the video game, for all major consoles.
This third-person shooter has an exclusive storyline that picks up where the film leaves off. With 20 levels of game play, three character classifications, (Commando: Does well at close range, Heavy: Possesses extraordinary shooting skills, but does it best from a distance, and Combat Soldier: Balanced between the two) and 16 playable characters to choose from. At certain stages in the game players can board drivable Cobra and G.I. Joe vehicles designed for two-player co-op mode. … Read more
No sooner had we written about reports that Sony would be dropping its 80GB PS3 in Japan on August 9, that two more PS3-related news items surfaced.
A Belgian blog, RTLinfo, is reporting that Sony will soon be lowering the price on the European version of the PS3 from 399 euros to 299 euros (that bodes well for a $299 version of the U.S. PS3). At the same time, the site claims that Sony will introduce the PS3 Slim before the opening of Gamescom expo in Cologne, Germany, at a pre-event press conference on August 18. In more concrete … Read more
The rumors of the impending arrival of a new PlayStation 3 are growing more fierce as new hints seem to turn up almost daily in the blogsphere. The latest discovery to pop up is what appears to be an internal document from 7-Eleven--which sells games in Japan--that suggests Sony may be about to discontinue the 80GB PS3 in its home country.
According to a report by a Japanese blog that Kotaku turned into English, 7-Eleven will no longer be taking "pre-orders" for black, white and silver 80GB PS3 after Sunday, August 9. (The document this information is based … Read more
As we continue to monitor our buying behavior during the recession, something we can rely on during these difficult times is that video games will be affordable. For $50 to $60, we can derive hours and hours of entertainment from a single title. It's generally not a bad deal, in most gamers' eyes.
But what if a blockbuster title that took years and millions of dollars to develop was priced at $100 or more? Would the price make us think twice about buying it?
That might be the question we'll need to ask ourselves soon, if we are to believe former Sony Europe President Chris Deerling.
Speaking to U.K. publication MCV, Deerling said that if current development cycles and costs are maintained, a price tag of 70 British pounds per game is inevitable. Based on recent exchange rates and on the assumption that the game would sell for essentially the same price internationally, that would mean that U.S.-based customers would face about a $119 price tag for the title.
"Before there can be as many successful blockbuster games as there were in the past, games have to be produced in a more efficient fashion," Deerling told the publication. "In order to price these games at a level where they would support an industry (as strongly as) they did 10 years ago, they'd have to be sold at 70 pounds."
"Consumers won't spend more, but to write the game, publishers are having to spend more than ever before," Deerling continued. "That's the key problem."
And what a problem it is.… Read more
Augmented reality--in case you haven't been following, is a technology blending video cameras and computer graphics enabling you to interact with virtual creations in the real world. In practice, it looks like virtual reality crossing over into actual reality. You may have heard the buzzword, but as of late, it's becoming a serious gaming trend. At last week's PlayStation holiday preview in New York, one of the most talked-about titles in Sony's fall lineup was its hi-tech attempt to take on Nintendogs, called EyePet.
While it was definitely one of the most impressive augmented-reality game demos we've seen, it's far from the only one. Here's a rundown of EyePet as well as some other augmented-reality games of the future we're looking forward to playing. And is it just us, or is the angle of most of these titles to "make little animals appear next to you?" Clearly, if this is any indication, get ready for a whole lot more hallucinatory ghost creatures dancing on your coffee tables for holidays to come.
Eyepet (Sony, PlayStation 3) Sony's been quietly leading the pack in U.S. augmented-reality game development, starting with 2007's bold but unsuccessful trading-card battle game Eye of Judgment. Although interactive PlayStation Eye software has been available on the PSN Store that achieves other AR effects, EyePet is their first major push at a mainstream home entertainment product.… Read more
Episode 43 of the Digital City, where special guest Natali Del Conte joins us to talk about the ethics of news organizations uploading street fighting videos; the CrunchPad vs. Apple's hypothetical tablet, and the latest Netbook trends.
Plus, Scott and I share our impressions of Sony's holiday PlayStation lineup, which we checked out in person earlier this week, including Uncharted 2 and the cool/creepy EyePet virtual critter.
Taking voice acting out of games not only saves on development costs (voice acting can be expensive, after all), but it also saves room on game discs. That's why some developers have left voice acting out of their titles.
Nintendo may be the most interesting case though. It's made a fortune with its first-party titles, however, very few of them have voice acting. But one recently released Nintendo game, Punch-Out, features several voice actors yelling as you fight.
In an interesting e-mail exchange, video game blog Kotaku wanted to figure out exactly why Nintendo decided to break from its antivoice tradition with the game. Game producer Kensuke Tanabe said Nintendo's model has always centered on keeping the main character silent. Little Mac, Punch-Out's protagonist, is silent throughout the game.
"Nintendo's tradition is that the hero or central character never vocally speaks," Tanabe told Kotaku. "We also followed this tradition for the title...We recorded speech to express each character's origins and characteristics...I believe (that using) fighters' voices during matches is very effective in making the experience more immersive."… Read more
The V-Screen is an add-on for Sony PSP consoles that's designed to make games appear in 3D. It's supposed to enhance "the perceived depth of the 2D screen image," and apparently will work with many games. It looks bulky in the picture, but the protrusions do fold down to a more compact state when not in use and act as a case for your PSP.
Epic Games Vice President Mark Rein said in a recent interview that although the video game industry has historically seen console refreshes every four to six years, there's no need to follow that strategy this time around. Consumers just aren't ready yet, he said.
"Over half the users who played Gears of War 2 so far do not have HDTVs," Rein told Eurogamer in an interview. "My point is, of the systems that are out there now, the majority of them aren't plugged into HDTVs. So there's no way we're ready for the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox Whatever."
Rein's comments fall in line with what Sony has been touting as the PlayStation 3's 10-year lifecycle. The hardware maker has said on numerous occasions that the rapid console updates of the past simply don't apply in this generation. That's why Sony, even though it's trailing far behind the competition today, believes it can still win this console war. It believes that its console is the only device on the market that has staying power.
For a while, many video game pundits (myself included) thought that argument was nonsense. Surely there is something bigger and better on the horizon, right?
Rein doesn't think so. He doesn't believe Microsoft will release a high-powered Xbox 720 to replace the Xbox 360. On the contrary, he thinks the future of the Xbox is based solely in Project Natal, motion-detecting technology to control a gaming system with no controller required.
"It's called Natal," Rein said. "That is the next Xbox."… Read more