Gaming news for the rest of us.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I interrupt whatever you are doing...

Pickle wrote:
To give you some footage of gameplay for Assassins Creed, from X06. So check this out and start wanting it, it looks amazing. I mean social stealth is a fantastic concept. Enough me more video: Assassins Creed X06 Gameplay

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Sid Meier's Railroads!" Interview

Railroad Tycoon fans rejoice, Sid Meier's "Railroads!" is nearing its October 17th release date and ShackNews has a nice interview (including pictures) with Dan Magaha , the game's producer. Follow this link to read more about this forthcoming remake of the classic Sid Meier game that started it all.

Thanks to wytefang for pointing this one out.

Friday, September 22, 2006

TGS: New Metal Gear Solid 4 and Portable Ops trailers

Piniata wrote:
Another huge gaming festival, another huge Metal Gear Solid trailer. The time of the year means it is time for TGS, and after months of waiting we get a new Metal Gear Solid trailer. Well, infact two. That's right. Trailers for both Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops are available.

You can view the MGS4 trailer here and download the Portable Ops trailer here.


Microsoft to Offer Free 360 Repairs

If you were one of the lucky ones to score a 360 at launch you may have had some issues with that console and may have even paid to get it repaired. While that does in fact suck, Microsoft has come to terms with the fact that a batch of the initial run of 360s did have a higher than normal defect rate. As such, any consoles made before Jan 1, 2006 are eligible for free repairs. Those of you that paid for repairs should be eligible for a refund.

I think this is a great move for Microsoft, but it took them a little too long to realize those machines had issues.

TGS: All PS3s get HDMI and Price Drops in Japan

A while back Sony was struck with a tough decision on whether or not to include HDMI in the low end version of the PS3. After all, the last thing you want to do is be accused of forcing people to pay for a feature they may or may not want... This caused a huge uproar in the gaming community. What good is HD gaming and Blu-Ray without HDMI?

Sony must have heard the uproar as they announced in the Keynote today that all levels of the PS3 would be getting the digital HDMI ports. I think this is a smart move on Sony's part and I am glad to see that they listened to the consumers on this issue.

Another interesting point that Ken talked about at the Keynote was that they dropped the price of the 20GB (think Core system) version of the system for the Japanese region only. The console was originally priced at 62,790 yen and was lowered to 49,980 yen. XE Currenty Converter shows that as a $110 price drop. Of course this has sent the industry analysts into a frenzy about what a pre-release drop will mean to losses and sales and all that jazz.

The consensus coming out of TGS so far is that the presentation was a focused technological discussion and didn't introduce any new products. This was a strategic move in a time when Sony needs to ramp up the momentum to launch. We will see how that plays out for them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Free Unlimited Media Downloads? Doubtful

When I wake up in the morning my Inbox is generally full of Press Releases from various PR companies. Some of these PR companies specialize in sending out releases for anyone willing to pay them a few bucks. This is more the exception than the rule as far as the emails that I get, but one email arrived this morning that peaked my interest. It was titled “Gamers Want Unlimited Free Game Downloads, New Web Site Delivers”. I would tend to agree with that statement so I figured I would give it a read. The email goes on to talk about a new website that is offering downloads of games, movies, songs, and tv shows to members of the site. This is a legal site that someone is actually advertising through the use of Press Releases?

"We give gamers what they want -- unlimited free downloads," said Tim Foss, owner of the site. "These are complete games, not demos. We offer legal software from a massive list of games, as well as music, DVD copy and backup software, MP3 players, CD burning software, online music search, lyrics, Internet radio, popup and spyware removers, and much more."

"You will find all of the latest tools for accessing the largest file networks on the planet plus some new methods using special web sites and networks. Members have access to the necessary tools to search and download all kinds of files for your Xbox 360. Basically, you will be able to find whatever you need for your Xbox 360. This includes movies, software, games and much more," explained Foss.

The site claims to offer games for all current and next gen platforms. They are currently advertising an introductory special of “free” membership to take a quick survey, which happened to be some sort of credit score thing that requires a credit card as proof of ID. I am fresh out of credit cards I want to give to anonymous people and don't have a quick way to get a prepaid card for verification purposes so I haven't signed up… yet.

The original email claims that you can download Xbox 360 games and use the software provided to members to transfer them to your 360 from your PC. The fee you pay is a one time membership fee and not a subscription and they offer a 60 day full refund guarantee for those of you not getting in on this “free offer”.

Obviously I am curious what the catch is or what it is that they are actually peddling so I fired off an email and obvious Microsoft has no official comment at the present time. We will follow up with this interesting new website if it is in fact legit and makes it through the night.

The site address for interested parties is here, but I would exercise caution and not sign up unless identity theft is your idea of a fun time or unless someone verifies that this is a legit venture.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wii official box art sighted

EB Games and Gamestop have updated many of their Wii game listings with what appears to be original box art for the new system. While some people seem to not care for it, I think it looks pretty cool.

The asymetrical space that the logo occupies doesn't bother me one bit. How do you feel about it?

Guitar Hero to go Multiplatform

Earlier this year RedOctane, developer of Guitar Hero, was acquired by Activision. Activision confirmed today that the Guitar Hero franchise would appear "on every significant new format". This could mean guitar solo action for the Wii, Xbox, and Xbox 360 sometime next year. This is great news for gamers and guitar enthusiasts everywhere. RedOctane hasn't commented on the news released by their parent company.

Guitar Hero 2 is still due out this November for the PS2.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wii Not Region Free after all?

Nintendo UK is now reporting that the Wii is region locked after all. Nintendo of America is credited with the initial statement that the Wii would be region free. At this point we have 2 different statements from different arms of the company. I think it's safe to say that any plans on the Wii being region free should be put on hold until NOA confirms or denies the initial comment.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Console Subsidization

There is a funny "battle" that I want to chime in on real quick. First, some history:

The bottom line of the Joystiq issue says that consumers are more likely to buy a console that has a higher subsidy built in, all other things equal. If you aren't familiar with the practice of subsidizing, it's the concept of selling things at a loss, which I just mentioned in another news post. Basically, the article equates selling at a loss with getting a discount and saving money. Penny Arcade rips on the article and basically calls it crap, which I am going to have to agree with. Joystiq didn't find that funny and responded.

The basic premise boils down to, what is the biggest determining factor for you purchasing a new console? Is it how much Company A is losing on it, factored in as a discount, or is it the overall price of the system?

For illustration purpose let's say the MS loses $100 per 360, Sony will lose $200 per PS3, and Nintendo makes $50 per Wii. That would put the consoles priced like so:

  • Xbox 360 $399 ($499 before loss)
  • PS3 $599 ($799 before loss)
  • Wii $249 ($200 before gain)

Do you buy the PS3 because it has the biggest subsidy despite the $599 price tag? If so, do you feel like that $200 is a discount and you scored a deal? I personally think, all things equal, people gravitate towards an overall lower price despite "discounts". The article builds into thinking a major fallacy that consumers factor in the loss the manufacturer takes on the hardware when looking at the price.

Since the original article factors in ceteris paribus, Latin for "all other things being equal", so let's go back and pretend the pricing is equal across all systems:

  • Xbox 360 $299 ($399 before loss)
  • PS3 $299 ($499 before loss)
  • Wii $299 ($249 before gain)

Does the price before the profit or loss make a lick of difference? Again, do you buy the PS3 just to "save" $200? I personally think the loss is not factored in to consumer consideration. Now that I have thrown a ton of match and hypothetical situations at you, which console would you buy?

Full Wii Launch details

Everyone in Europe and Australia can relax now. The newest details regarding Nintendo's worldwide launch plans for the Wii include December dates for Europe and Australia.

The Wii is slated for release in Europe on December 8 for £179. Australia will see the console one day earlier for A$399.95. Joystiq has a great page that they are continuing to update with all the Wii info you will ever need.

All around, not a bad launch plan for Nintendo. Probably the best bit of news for the company is that, as usual, the Wii will be profitable from day 1. Everyone knows that Microsoft and Sony have made a bad habit out of huge losses on hardware sales. Nintendo has always approached things with a more simplistic design and their profit margins definitely reflect it.

Nintendo's Reggie says they plan to sell 6 million units by March of 2007 and instead of disputing those numbers, analysts are actually expecting them to surpass those and hit closer to 8 million units. I don't think Nintendo could wish for better momentum going into the launch of this console. I, for one, am glad to see things in our industry getting a shake up.

Source: Gamespot