Although this girl is pointing to somewhere in the desert of Saudi Arabia, the Sistahs weren't even close to there when recording this week's podcast. Instead, NinjaSistah was in the desert (Las Vegas), covering the Consumer Electronics Show, while Pandalicious was comfortably at home in the snowdrifts of New England (and perhaps pant-less).
As you might expect, CES was at the forefront of their discussion on the podcast this week, focusing on 3D television technology, e-readers and some new games for the PS3, as well as some talk on Google's new Nexus One phone.
Here are the titles we rejected for this week's podcast:
Now Vanna Can Turn the Letters Right In Your Living Room
(By the way, the girl in the photo is a representative of Kimin Electronic Co., Ltd., a company which manufactures large -- up to 42-inch -- touchscreen monitors. It's very impressive stuff, but they don't fit in your pocket like an iPhone.)
Have you played the Bayonetta demo yet? Well, HAVE YOU? The Bayonetta Demo is currently available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Bayonetta is brought to you from the wacky mind of Hideki Kamiya and the fine folks at Sega. Kamiya is one of the creators behind the Devil May Cry series of games, which are also totally out there and insane. Bayonetta is more of the same, with a fresh current gen look.
Bayonetta the Witch
Your heroine, Bayonetta, is an outcast, born to a union that was deemed illegal. Bayonetta is not killed. Instead, she is kept alive, but unable to take part in society or perform magic. Well, obviously, she finds some way to escape her bonds and become a badass angel killing witch.
Bayonetta is an incredibly leggy, dark-haired, bespectacled woman who has a wide array of weapons at her disposal. Her basic weapons include a sword, double guns (of course) and guns on her feet! Using your handheld weapons is typical Devil May cry fare. When you pull off a certain command, you flip upside down and let off some shots with the guns on your feet, gun-kata style.
What Bayonetta can also do is slow down time after successfully dodging attacks. Bayonetta gets even more nasty when she does punish moves, which are basically quick time events that give you an option of dealing more damage.
When it comes to fighting bosses, that's an even better story. Once you beat a big enemy with an inch of its life, you can summon your witchy powers to call forth a demon- made of Bayonetta's hair. Now that's what I call witchcraft! This is the ultimate representation of Bayonetta's combo moves. It's a bit gruesome to watch, but it's also very cool.
With ups, there are downs
Bayonetta does have familiar problems. As a game that allows you to fly high in the air and attack as fast as lightning, the camera has an issue with keeping up with you. You can see the action just fine, but when you're faced with so much on the screen, it could have been good to have more camera angles at your command, sort of like when yu can change angles in theGrand Theft Auto games.
In addition, a nitpick comes Bayonetta's way because Bayonetta has one of the weirdest stances ever in a game. When you let Bayonetta stand still, she looks incredibly unnatural.
These gripes don't kill the fun at all. If you love the wild action spectacles that are the Devil May Cry games, Bayonetta is DMC's exotic cousin.
In this episode of the podcast, Pandalicious kicks the show off with what she took away from the new Tarantino flick "Inglourious Basterds," followed by some open conversation about the Rock Band support for the Lips wireless microphones as well as the new PS3 slim. Then we back the conversation up to games and NinJa jumps in with quick reactions to both Live Arcade titles Trials HD and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled.
To give you an idea of what this episode is like, here are some of the titles we didn't use:
It's Not a Spoiler Alert If You Spoil It Before the Alert
It's Got T.I.T. Right In the Middle
Canada Isn't a Religion
Don't Waste Your Microsoft Points -- You're Going to Need Them
The PS3 Slim Is No McLovin
The Only Girls On the Internet Asking for Stalkers
The internet is all a, well, I guess I can't use twitter anymore, because that's ruined. OK, the internet is all abuzz about the new PS3 SKU, and this time it's positive! This has to be the most thumbs up reaction PS3 has had for its hardware since people knew of the console's existence a bit more than 3 years ago.
In addition to getting a more portable PS3, we're also getting a far less expensive one. The PS3 Slim costs half the price of the original PS3, which mean there's little excuse for people who have been putting off buying the admittedly expensive original. You can get up to an 120GB model for $299 (including the PS3 "Fat") and an 160GB model for $100 more. Also PlayStation looks like it's finally ready to properly compete with its two adversaries.
Good News however, never comes hand in hand with its little brother. The bad news is that while the original PS3 could stand perfectly on its own, you might have to purchase a vertical stand. I suggest you save your $24 and prop up your PS3 Slim with your Golden Girls DVD box set. Also, PS3 Slim HATES Linux, so good luck with playing with the PS3 OS. Rounding out the bad news is the lack of PS2 game compatibility. I don't see why this drawback cannot be fixed via firmware, but until then you are out of luck if you ever feel the urge to get nostalgic.
This is a new day for PlayStation. By Christmas, tons of people are going to score the one item that has eluded their grasp for so many years. I hope to see you all online. I've been waiting for some fresh meat to pwn in Street Fighter IV :)
The gals took the weekend off and left Evermore to his own devices [meaning Adobe SoundBooth and Final Cut Pro] to Frankenstein together another one of his infamous ESH clip shows!
There is music, there are interviews from some of our E3 booth stops, and maybe even a nugget or two of fun. From Warner Bros. Batman: Arkham Asylum to my Beatles: RockBandinterview with Creative Director Josh Randall. from Harmonix and more. [Can you say Heavy Rain walkthrough? What about Ratchet and Clank: walkthrough.]
Pandalicious and Ninjasistah talk about some of the lesser known or presented games like Warner Bros. Scribblenauts for the DS and a few titles from Playlogic including Section 8 Who had the best looking man candy by far. From Alpha Protocol to The Lord of the Rings: Arrogorns' Tale we talk through the last bits of our E3 notes... until we finish unpacking that is.
Rule one: Don't have sex, you'll die Rule two: Don't drink, you'll die Rule three: Don't do drugs or...you'll die.. Oh...Cmon put the drugs, the booze and the condoms down...Ok...see what happens to you!
So you thought things were safe. You thought today you were going to do the same sort of things you did the day before: wake up, shower [hopefully] aim for passing that test or getting through that performance review. Maybe, just maybe life really is as mundane as we figure it to be…or maybe things are just a tad bit…obscure. The facets of life in regards to the life lived in the light, and the life lived in the dark are often left unseen.
We don’t mind living in the light; however what about that other half? What about shedding some awareness on ones personal darkness? That inner horror, terror, fear and uncertainty will not stay hidden forever. Will you be ready?
Now it is one thing to confront personal demons, but the contrast in a soon to be released title [Early September release] is that is fashioned in a complete B movie sheen. So combine all the Scream movies, I know what you did last summer, Silent Hill, Resident Evil and even a dash of everyone’s favorite “ Stay Alive” [*please note editor's strong strain of sarcasm.]
In the universe of Obscure: The Aftermath, we are thrown into a rendition of “Scream”: The Later Years. There is a group of college students having the most generic college experience imaginable…you know…the one WE all THOUGHT we’d have? [Or maybe it is just me...] So add sex, drugs sex, pizza, sex, the occasional bathroom break in the middle of an exam and oh yeah don't forget about sex. Like always the universe wants to punish these academia bound youths with horrors that they have never imagined. [Sucks to be them right?]
So in order to understand Obscure: The Aftermath it is best to understand what happened before…Two years ago at Leafmore high, there was a group of teenagers who were trapped inside their school; they were hunted down by demonic monsters set upon them by the headmaster. Some of them didn’t make it, while others were lucky to make it out alive. So with their lives in tacked they moved on…to the next phase.
When these dark flowers begin popping up all over the campus, it is only natural that people want to experiment on them. From this came an unknown substance that would induce strange and vivid dreams. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like drugs to me. [Ohhhhh Yeah!] Editors note: The editor does not condone the use of narcotics while driving cars, walking on the street, and being slaughtered by devilish fiends.
The PSP is getting this game with two modes: Single player and Co-Op. It is an easy drop in/drop out system. Other features in this game are: that there are six playable characters, each with a special or unique ability. This can be the ability to climb or have additional strength or...oh I don’t know, being able to absorb dark matter. It is all in a highly detailed and rich 3D environment. The last attribute to bring up about this game is the soundtrack! It is essential to the overall mood of the intended horror and terror that plagues this universe.
Now, I was privileged enough to see this game up close. The monsters that I saw the heroes encounter were definitely eye catching…. My personal favorite was the Vagina monster. This Phobia [which is what the monsters are called] is a female’s body with no head, naked obviously. [Alright fellahs before whipping em out and fapping away let me warn you here and now. All those fears of a woman’s vagina, what it looks like and what it can do to you...are embodied in this game. Okay…don’t say I didn’t tell you.] All along her legs leading all the way to...you guessed it was a mouth with razor sharp fangs. If that isn’t enough to dissuade you, if you are close enough to her, she will unleash her umbilical cord that will wrap around you, drag you to her V-Town and will dish out some serious pain…if not...immediate death! [I know fellahs….I know but this isn’t a good idea!]
If I only had a PSP I would be able to physically enter this world and be able to deliver a stronger vision for you guys. But if this sounds remotely intriguing then I strongly suggest that you check it out. I doubt you’d be disappointed, however keep in mind that this game isn’t meant to be taken seriously, it is done in a style that begs us to laugh our asses off. We all know I did! Enjoy!
We aren't dead, but our feet [and brains] are dead tired from traipsing around the LA Convention Center last week to cover E3 for you guys. [And if I'm honest, for ourselves as well.] I couldn't tell you how much both Pandalicious and I enjoyed our time in LA. First there was the catching up with the rest of the AllGames fam, followed closely by the meeting and greeting of new gamer-type press groups and the exchange of thoughts and ideas over free drinks. [Crix Lee from GirlGamer, Destructoids' Nick Chester, and Mr. Crecente himself from Kotaku to name drop a few.] The side-story fun stuff aside, we descended on LA for a reason and that reason was to get the low down on the soon to be released and up-and-coming video games.
I won't bore you with a list of what we looked at, and whom we spoke to now as it wouldn't leave us anything to write for the rest of the week. What I will do is tell you that this podcast was one of our more enjoyable ones to record. We recorded it live from the show floor and Crix Lee popped by during our The Beatles: RockBand time and shared some great insights with us. A few people were wow'd by my laptop skin [courtesy of DecalGirl] and interrupted us a bit so you may notice that in here as well, but we had a lot to talk about... Bayonetta, Scribblenaughts, Prototype, and Batman: Arkham Asylum come to mind as I write this.
Right before we head off to LA we cooked up a fresh new podcast episode for you to enjoy while we sleep on planes.
In this episode of the podcast hosts NinJaSistah and Pandalicious talk about what they hope to see, learn, and play at E3 this year as well as deal a bit gossip out for your enjoyment. From the confirmed PSP GO to discussing some of the many ways Harmonix/MTV Games will be storing all the money they are stand to make with The Beatles: RockBand we leave no gaming cranny uncovered.
I know it's like beating a dead horse, but I just am becoming more and more impressed with Little Big Planet from Sony.
Today I got to actually play a hands on demo before show hours of the game at Sony's booth, and it really made me want to steal the dev-kit it was running on.
LBP is a side scroller at it's core, with multiplayer racing game mechanics on the facade. You create a puzzle level, and then post it on the PSN or simply play it on your system. The game supports up to four players, and is a downright hoot! I was privileged enough today to play two levels, the "Skulldozer" level and one that the developer had just created earlier that morning.
In the "Skulldozer" level, we had to get to the finish line of the level without being touched by a bulldozer made out of skeleton bones that gave us chase...and from the rear no less. While you do have a limited number of times you can respawn in the game, being able to watch others play is a huge piece of the game play. At no point in time during the day today was the line for LBP shorter than a 45-1hour wait, and that I think says a lot about the game.
One of the first things that strikes me about the LBP demo is that the level creation is ridiculously deep. LBP has it’s players moving left to right through each level on three planes of existence depth wise, which is really the only difficult piece of the game controls to get used to. Everything else in the game deals with you jumping, grabbing, pulling and pushing objects in the level using the “X” and “R1” keys making LBP an easily picked up and played game. It will be a game that I think I can even get ESH Mom to play when she comes to visit. Now back to the level creator, and it’s being deep.
LBP does need some way to rank you though for finishing the race, and that's where bubbles come in. During the levels of the game you have to collect these bubbles as they are the equivalent of points in the game, and she who has the most points laughs last... or something like that.
There is not firm ship date on LBP yet, but I'm not going to work on whatever day it is.
I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the game Little Big Planet since it was annonced last year. I'm almost captivated by it. I obssess over every screen, youtube video and demonstration of the game that I see. I'm not a huge "The Sims" fan, but do enjoy the majority of simulation game titles available here in the US.
What grabs me first about a sim-game is the level of control it gives me over my environment. When I can affect the world I am about to play in it let's me explore areas of my imagination the I would otherwise avoid during my day job. It gives me a free pass on being constrained to a single plane of thought and ultimately let's me be a kid again. When you add to that the ability to create the people/creatures/things that will then live in that world or explore them, I get even more excited. Creativity to me is one of the most undervalued traits that a person has or can have. That being said, it should be no surprise that games like LBP or Spore never drop off my radar.
The problem I have is that I lack patience. Severely. Anyone in my family can attest to this. So to have to wait until October to get my hands on this game, and right now I'm having a hard time with it. Sure, I've had the Spore Creature Creator to keep my company, but I find that the Creature Creator has become a poor substitute for the full title, and of late does not quench my thirst. Here and there I play another round of Sid Meier's Civilization: Revolution, but like Creature Creator, Civ:Revolution is a demo, easily completed or timed out and I am left alone again clawing at my own flesh trying to tear my mind away for the unbridled desire for this game. I'm sure that Sony is tired of getting my emails about this game, but right now we are barely starting July... October is three torturous and agonizing months away. I mean, look at this stuff I found on the LBP Wiki, and from a Sony press release I got a while back:
"There are limitless ways to play. Players craft their own individual experience based on their own creativity.
Unlimited possibilities for user-created content – players can customize everything: their characters, the landscape around them and their own patch on LittleBigPlanet.
Players learn new skills and discover new items to aid them on their creative journey. Explore the massive single player game or go online to find user-generated content.
LittleBigPlanet will change every day as players contribute their own levels.
Online and offline multiplayer modes – play alone, work as a team with up to four friends or get competitive.
LittleBigPlanet global community for players to get involved with: includes player comments, rankings and easy communication with new and existing friends."
C'mon, look at the main characters... THEY ARE SOCK PUPPET PEOPLE!!!
I'm going to have to call out sick from the day job when this game finally comes to market.
Yesterday SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) announced the new online features for the Playstation 3 that will be available on July 2 along with 2.4 enhancements, in the form of an automatic firmware upgrade that will deliver some of the features requested by gamers.
Press Release: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe today announced new online gaming functionality for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™), which will become available on July 2, 2008 with the 2.40 enhancement, an automatic firmware upgrade that delivers several of the features most requested by gamers. Combined with PLAYSTATION®Network’s unique service of free* online gaming, the enhancement makes PS3 an even more attractive platform of choice for the online gamer.
Firstly, the 2.40 enhancement allows XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) access in-game. This means that you can access the PS3 menu at any time while playing most games, simply by tapping the PlayStation button on your controller. With 2.40, you can check if any of your friends are online (thanks to their own user profile), read and send messages, change some settings for games, all without having to quit the game you are playing. While you can’t pause an online multiplayer game involving other people, you can rejoin play at any time when you’ve finished browsing. Along with these enhanced communications features, the Friends list capacity will double to 100 Friends.
2.40 also delivers trophies to recognise players’ achievements in the online arena. Other competitive activities recognise winners with trophies – so why not gaming on PS3? Many online games will have gold, silver and bronze trophies – with platinum available for those who snag all three – all displayed on the XMB for everyone to see.
Super Stardust™ HD, a PLAYSTATION Network-exclusive released last year, will be the first game to leverage the Trophies system and will offer a variety of trophies**. The following first-party games are also slated to offer Trophy support:
• BUZZ! Quiz TV • LittleBigPlanet • MotorStorm Pacific Rift • NBA 09 - PS3 • PAIN** • PixelJunk Eden • Resistance 2 • SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation • Warhawk**
The 2.40 enhancement is just one more reason to join PSN, the online network for PS3 users that lets you game online for free*. All you need to do to join is connect your PS3 to broadband and register, or go to the connection guide at www.eu.playstation.com to find out more.
Once in, you’ll find online matches and leagues for all of your favourite games – whether that’s MotorStorm™, Resistance™, Warhawk™ or Gran Turismo™5 Prologue – absolutely free (although users are responsible for paying their broadband fees) and at any time of the day or night. You’ll also find PLAYSTATION®Store, where you can download entire games as well as extra levels, content for your existing games plus internet browsing, video chat thanks to PLAYSTATION®Eye and much, much more.
There’s never been a better time to join PSN. Sign up now to make the most of the 2.40 firmware enhancement - see www.(website).com to find out more.
Did you ever wonder if there was a reason to own a PSP? Well, they might have actually found one.
I found this information when doing one of those web surveys. It's identical to the GPS add-on promoted by Sony for the Japanese market at CES this year, shown in the color photo here from Joystiq, except for that little thing sticking out of the top of the PSP.
A Global Positioning System for the PSP would be just what the doctor ordered for the long-failing portable gaming system. There still aren't any decent games for the thing, and that UMD movie fiasco has been a bust for everyone concerned.
The survey I filled out was mainly concerned about pricing the thing. At what price point would I consider it too cheap? What price point would I consider it just right? What price point would I consider too much? Basically, the Three Bears school of surveys.
Well, apparently the Japanese currently pay the equivalent of $51 U.S. for the thing -- which I think is probably too cheap for the American market. Anything under $89 on this side of the continent is considered a toy. And more than $139 is probably too much.
And I would probably have hopped on this thing last year -- until the iPhone came out. I've found the pseudo-GPS in the iPhone fits my needs very well. The iPhone triangulates the positions of multiple cell phone towers and WiFi base stations to determine the current location. On a recent trip halfway across the country, along I-40 through Arkansas and Tennessee and then up I-81 through Virginia, I was able to determine my approximate position most anytime I wanted (except when I was in the most mountainous regions of Virginia).
Sure, true GPS is better than faux-GPS, but I wasn't hunting for lost treasure -- I was just trying to get a fix on my current position along a major interstate so I could find the next Jack-in-the-Box restaurant down the road. In concert with Google Maps, my iPhone directed me to the fast food joint just fine.
According to the survey, the PSP unit has most of the features you'd expect in a GPS: turn-by-turn navigation, 3D clity maps, voice prompts, detour recalculation and route redirection. It even has a pedestrian/bike mode for those who aren't necessarily restricted by off-ramps. In addition, it has a holder you can install in your car.
But that satellite receiver plug-in unit will probably be prone to problems of being lost or destroyed, and without the receiver, there will be no way to use the GPS software loaded into the PSP. They're going to need a more solid connector/holder/sleeve for the thing. And just how much juice is it going to take to keep the GPS operational? It might be OK in a car, connected to power via the cigarette lighter, but it's just not going to cut it on foot.
It would have been a great idea 18 months ago -- or a pretty good idea a year ago. But in 2008, it's the same old story of Sony being too little, too late.
Ok, get ready for a mouthful... Namco Bandai Games recently released a new trailer for Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress for the PSP system.
WHEW! I got through it.
According to Namco Bandai the game’s
"...unique combination of one-on-one combat and interactive storytelling, the new trailer gives gamers a taste of the extreme handheld ninja action the game holds in store for them."
The game lets players experience a new interactive storyline through a wide range of fun mini-games that will put their ninja skills to the test. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heros 2: The Phantom Fortress boasts a roster of more than 20 characters, the Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2 also supports frantic wireless multiplayer action with game sharing capabilities.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress for the PSP system will be available in stores nationwide on June 24th.
As the rumor mills continue to churn for the possibility of Sony's repricing of the PlayStation 3 to $399 for the holiday season, analysts were shocked today when Sony representatives announced that they instead would be selling U.S. $500 bills for the unprecedented price of $399.
"We know people are going to be calling us crazy," said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI), "but, hey, we're Sony. In the past year we brought out an HD DVD player that nobody wants, some batteries that spectacularly set some computers on fire and a game system for which there are no games to play on it. We know we're crazy."
The $500 bills, which display the picture of former U.S. President William McKinley, who was shot at the 1901 Buffalo World's Fair and later died, were last printed in 1945 and withdrawn from circulation in 1969.
When asked why anyone would want to own a $500 bill that they cannot use as legal currency, Hirai said, "Hey, they already own a PS3 that they can't use. A worthless $500 bill is a conversation piece, just like that PS3. And it isn't half the fire hazard the PS3 is.
"Sure, a $500 bill can catch on fire, but it won't explode in the middle of the night and kill your whole family like a PS3 might."
Hirai added that the $500 bill costs much less to ship. "Just pop it in an envelope and stick on a 41 cent stamp," Hirai said. That compares with the PS3, which weighs approximately 38 pounds (288 pounds when you add the weight of the postman who hauls it reluctantly to your front porch).
Although selling a $500 bill would mean a $101 loss for Sony on each bill sold, Hirai said the price is much less than Sony would lose on selling the PS3 at the same $399 price point. "Think of all the money we're saving just on marketing," he added. "Heck, $500 bills practically sell themselves.
"Nothing says Christmas more than a crisp $500 bill. It's even green on the back."
It's just the two sistahs Pandalicious and NinJaSistah holding it down for episode 68. Pandalicious tries to help NinJaSistah wrap her mind around the anime series Nerima Daikon Brothers, and I emphasize the word tries. Then on the flipside of the hour, NinJaSistah glosses over some of the news from the Tokyo Game Show and shares her first impressions of the PS3 title Heavenly Sword.
Yeap, it's a fun, and weird hour this week, and if you don't believe me, just check out the rejected titles for this weeks episode:
Don't Take Her Shoes, She Needs the Height
It's Not The Size of Your URL, It's How You Use It
We Were Sharing Bodily Fluids LAST Week
Why Is The Radish Throbbing?
The Words, "Big Throbbing Daikon" Scare Me
The Most Forbidden Love: When Man Meets Panda
What She Did With a Fishcake: On The Next Maury
Sony made Me Go Dutch Then Tried To Rape Me
The PS3 Controller Was A Pain in the SIXAXIS
Hopefully, This Will Be the Last Sexually Oriented Wii Joke
At the end of September last year, ElectricSistaHood published a post asking the big question of the day: Will the PS3 cause Sony to go broke?
The story was a massive hit. More than 55,000 people read the story the first day. That's more people than read a front page story of many mid-market daily newspapers. Since publishing the story, it's received 87,595 page views through yesterday.
Last week the story started getting attention from a new source: the forums at eu.playstation.com, the European Playstation site. Then, suddenly, the attention stopped. After a little investigation, we discovered the horrid truth: The Sony fanboys are censoring themselves!
Before I continue, a few caveats are in order. First, the folks at ElectricSistaHood aren't Microsoft fanboys. I personally own five machines with Apple computers inside (three Powerbooks, an Intel iMac and an AppleTV). We have two iPhones. We're not Microsoft haters, either. We have one Vista laptop, but we didn't have to pay for that. We own a couple of copies of Microsoft Office for the Mac. We own a copy of Windows XP that we run on the Mac in Parallels. We own an Xbox and an Xbox 360 -- and the 360 recently spent about a month or so in the shop. We have a Nintendo Wii with four controllers and a DS Lite.
And we own our good share of Sony stuff -- a couple of PS2's, a 20-gig PS3 and a PSP. The only trouble we've had with any of them is that the first PS2 had difficulty playing some CD's when it was standing on its side. We use the PS3 mostly for its Blu-Ray movie-playing capability, but we find it a good, solid platform for playing games.
When I wrote the story last September about Sony going broke, it was well researched and fully documented. And I wasn't the only one having severe questions about the company. The very same day I wrote about Sony, the Wall Street Journal published a similar article.
In the story, I posited that under the circumstances, if the stars fell into a certain alignment, there could be the possibility that (a) Sony could find itself in a position to ditch the gaming division and (b) Microsoft could find itself in a position to purchase the Sony gaming division. It's not an impossible notion. Who would have thought a few years ago that Daimler would suddenly toss Chrysler into the dust bin?
Besides, at the time ElectricSistaHood was barely attracting 300 people a day to the site.
As a result of those two mentions, blogs and websites all over the world found out about the story and linked to our post. That post single-handedly put ElectricSistaHood on the map. Today we attract more than 60,000 unique visitors a month and we're aiming for 100,000 by the end of the year.
My story got kudos from some and flames from others. My head didn't swell from the kudos and I didn't cry myself to sleep from the flames. I just liked being able to get so many people involved in that important topic.
Since September, interest in the story has continued. We generally get a few dozen pageviews of the story every day, and people still comment on occasion -- usually with harsh opinions on one side or another.
Then on Friday, the page got hit with a few hundred readers. Comments heavily weighed toward Sony's side of things. What had suddenly made people so excited about a story that was written almost a year ago?
To find the answer to that question, I searched through the server logs of electricsistahood.com and discovered hundreds of people coming to the site from a forum at eu.playstation.com -- the European Playstation website. I tried clicking into the page from which they came, but the page -- http://community.eu.playstation.com/showthread.php?t=124977 (Click here to try it yourself) -- was no longer there.
Someone had removed the page. Was Sony censoring its fanboys? What could they have been saying on the forum?
I did some more digging. I knew that the words "Sony" and "broke" would have to be on the page, so I did a Google search on "site:eu.playstation.com" and "sony" and "broke". The search found the pages, but clicking on them resulted in the same error page -- the comments were simply gone.
Of course, the nice part about looking up stuff on Google is that it also caches the pages as it crawls them. All the original forum pages were still there and available by clicking the "Cached" link on Google.
So I read through the postings. It was the usual mix of Sony fanboys and Microsoft fanboys trading shots with each other. There wasn't anything controversial there. Nobody threatened to do bodily harm to anyone. No reason for Sony to pull down the pages.
Then, near the end of the posts, the Sony fanboys started getting cold feet about the whole thing. There just weren't very many people coming to the defense of the topic, which was called "Microsoft to buy Sony? ha".
About a day after making his first post on the topic at the eu.playstation.com forums, MPower wrote, "Ok, I only posted this to show how absurd the article was. So if anyone thinks I took it seriously hence the 'has anyone got a gun' [comment]. Anyway, this topic is really irrelevant and ANOTHER bloody flamewar is starting so lets move on shall we ladies and gents?"
The next poster, Rider2006, agreed, writing, "This thread should be deleted as it's off topic." After a couple of more posts, the topic was deleted from the website in the early hours today (Sunday, Aug. 12).
I think this is what happened:
MPower learned of a story proclaiming the possibility that Microsoft was going to grab Sony's gaming division. He saw that the story was on a girl-gaming website, which he must have thought was particularly funny. He probably thought, what could girls possibly know about gaming?
After a few congratulatory posts from his Sony fanboy friends, others started making disturbing comments about the realities of PS3 sales vs. the sales of the 360 and the Wii. Then the discussion degenerated into unrelated asides about sales of Sony TVs and Walkmans.
I think the Sony fanboys started realizing that it wasn't the year 2003 anymore. The Playstation 3 is not the PS2. There aren't any substantial games for it yet, and with the absence of Grand Theft Auto IV this Christmas, it will be mid-2008 before a marquee game arrives for the platform. Even then, they will have to share the stage with Microsoft, which will have the game for the Xbox 360 at the same time.
The discussion got irrelevant all right. But it was the Sony fanboys who made the discussion irrelevant. Nintendo sells every Wii it makes and PS3 boxes are stacked to the rafters at Best Buy -- even after a $100 price break. There's no defense to that little argument, and the Sony fanboys know it.
That's why they halted the discussion and made it unavailable for anyone else to read it. They simply couldn't face the truth anymore.
I didn't get invited to the Sony E3 briefing, but I did get to watch the stream as many of you that are stuck at your day job did not get to do.
What follows will be my accounting of the live feed that I watched with the few other soldiers of game reporting truth [meaning other non-invitees] today.
I wish I could tell you that the stream was awesome, and made up for my not (1) not being invited to the real festivities, and (2) make the gamers not able to attend to feel in the loop. This was not the case. They glossed over PS2 info to jump into building up the PSP to showcase some upcoming titles for the platform. I was actually kinda looking forward to them, except the view of the trailers was all in widescreen, so you couldn't see squat but some of the text of the titles. Yippie freakin' skippy!
They did announce a new PSP [flogging a dead freaking horse maybe?] that was lighter, thinner, and supported video out, and will be in Black, Ice Silver, and then a really bad Chewbacca came out onto the stage to announce the StarWars Battlefront Renegade Squadron PSP edition. Oh, it was painful to watch the fake Bacca try to pantomime to the canned Wookie vocals.
The next step was the Playstation Network. Phil Harrison popped out to lead the cheer about the PSON. The first game they showed off was a black and white puzzle game that featured a stick like figure navigating some weird geometric shapes. It sounds weird, but looks damn cool.
And now on to home... the only Sony PS3 technology that has piqued my interest enough to possibly need a towel. Home looks to be even more expansive that I first imagined. The environments that they showed as under construction looked great, but the entire walkthrough it just kept looking like a gigantic Sims title to me and I don't know if that's good or bad. I will leave the proof to be in the pudding. The ability to launch a game title from within home gives me more hope that it won't suck out loud, and should give you hope as well.
I could tell you about the montage [BECAUSE YOU GOTTA HAVE A MONTAGE!!] but you've already got the idea that the video montages have been par for the course. What I will tell that struck me as odd was that there was no mention of Final Fantasy games at all. Nearly all of the game titles and enhancements to the system were all making their debut in 08'. Heavenly Sword didn't even have any real game play to show and it's supposed to hit for holiday.
What did look and sound amazing was Metal Gear Solid 4. And if the hot sweet sexiness that was the MGS4 footage didn't get your heart pumping, the promise that it is the final title in the series that will answer all of MGS questions should. The MGS4 trailer should be hitting GameTrailers.com should be dropping soon.
I don't know if it's because I went to the MS event last night so a lot of the 3rd party games didn't seem as impressive to me having seen them the night before, but many of the titles shown at the Sony briefing just felt like slightly tweaked versions of existing game titles. Haze looks like Halo. Infamous looks like Crackdown and Grand Theft Auto had a one night stand, and Crackdown wound up preggers. Oh, guess what game KillZone2 looks like? Yeap, you guessed it, Halo. It's obvious that Sony wants to declare war on XB360 in the FPS genre. KillZone if the game runs like the video they showed today [which they SWORE was actual gameplay] they may stand a chance of wooing some Halo players over to the darkside of the floss.
Again, I'll wait for the pudding to cool before I eat it. NinJaSistah... OUT!
What are the three most important things in retail sales? Location, location, location. That is, unless you're Universal Music Group.
UMG announced this week that some artists it currently promotes will be denied availability on iTunes. Supposedly, this is to punish Apple for making iTunes the overwhelming No. 1 way to buy music online.
So who will it be, Universal? Will you ban the Black Eyed Peas from iTunes? I saw Diana Krall perform in Vegas last month. Will her records be stricken from the iTunes library? Or how about the Pussycat Dolls? Maybe you should forget about putting those girls on your iPod.
Will George Strait find himself straight out of the iTunes library? Or Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eminem? Could be Eve or Gwen Stefani or Melissa Etheridge or Mariah Carey or Sheryl Crow or Shania Twain or Reba McEntire? I'd suggest Universal refrain from keeping Reba off of iTunes. She's from a rodeo family. She could beat them up.
I saw Erykah Badu in 2004 at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Surely they wouldn't strike her from iTunes. Or bands like blink-182, Bon Jovi, Fall Out Boy, Godsmack, Hoobastank, The Killers, 3 Doors Down and Weezer. No iPod access for you while you're available only in Windows format.
Ashlee Simpson! She's a UMG act! Please say it's Ashlee Simpson that you're keeping out of iTunes!
But as for Stevie Wonder, Sting, Elton John, The Cardigans and Wolfmother, UMG could seriously damage their careers by keeping them out of an iPhone.
UMG might as well go and tell Best Buy to shove it. Or maybe they should start making music discs that are playable only in a Sony PSP.
That angry noise you hear in the background is UMG's face as the company takes a knife to its own nose.
Sony would like you to think that they have reduced the price of the PS3 today. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Remember when the PS3 first came out in November? They brought out a lame version for $499 and a better version for $599. Today's announcement simply reinstates that pricing model.
Sony dropped its $499 version a few months ago because nobody was buying it. Now the $599 version has been repriced at $499, but it's all window dressing because Sony has already announced a premium-ier version packaged with an 80-gigabyte hard drive and a racing game called "MotorStorm." Guess how much it costs. That's right -- $599.
To reiterate today's announcement: Sony has a lame version of the PS3 that sells for $499 and a better version for $599. Just like in November 2006.
And the PS3 forts grow higher and higher at Best Buy.
Sony Playstation 3 owners are going to have their hands full in the next few days, downloading software and updating their systems. What will it mean for gamers? Pretty much nothing.
The updates aren't for gamers. You can see that right here. They're for people who want to watch a slightly better picture when they're using the PS3 to show DVD movies. They're for people who want to see bigger renditions of pictures they've got saved to their Playstation Portables. They're for people who... uh... well, that's about it.
If you're a gamer waiting for a reason to use the PS3, you'll just have to keep waiting. Sure, it can upscale PSOne and PS2 games, but from what I've seen thus far, those games simply play better on their original systems -- and the PS2 is still beating the PS3 in sales, six months after the introduction of the PS3.
Of course, you could treat the installation of the new PS3 firmware as a game itself. Score 10 points for yourself when you get the thing downloaded. Subtract a point for every hour it takes to download it properly. Score 10 points for yourself when the firmware update is installed and running. Subtract a point for every hour it takes to get the thing working right. If you're lucky, your score will still be a positive number in the end.
Then add it to your gamerscore and... oh, yeah, the PS3 doesn't have a gamerscore.
An executive from Sega, one of Nintendo's largest publishers, told Forbes.com last week that he expects the Wii to sell for less than $200. With a $200 price point, the Wii might not only be a video game system, but the new currency exchange unit for video game system sales. Consider this:
Nintendo Wii: 1 Wii Microsoft XBox 360 Base: 1.5 Wii Microsoft XBox 360 Deluxe: 2 Wii Sony Playstation 3 Premium (retail in November): 3 Wii Sony Playstation 3 Premium (on eBay in December): 6-8 Wii Sony Playstation 3 Premium (retail, next May): 1.5 Wii
Sure, I got the Wii price point wrong (it was $250, not $200), but I was otherwise close to the target.
And to all those Sony fanboys who have been berating me for my disparaging comments regarding the PS3, I'd like to point out that they sold a whopping 167,000 PS3's in February. At that rate, they'll clean out the entire initial 6 million PS3 run... by, uh, June 2010.
So remember back a few months ago when Capcom SWORE that it was going to be exclusive to the PS3. Like, the pinky swore to Sony and before God that it was going to never EVER going to have any other home than on the PS3. Well, they lied. They are dirty, rotten, skinky, [I mean in desperate need of a bath] liars... but that's a good thing. Why? Because, more DMC4 madness on more platforms means more likely to have an online component.
Can you imaging Dante and Nero and maybe even Virgil grudge matches over XBLive? What about those old mansion survival modes? Remember those? [I made it 35 levels once... once] Imagine rooms and rooms of those mansions filled with other Live players in a winner takes all type melee battle. Can't imagine it? I hope that Capcom does.
I'd like to blame it on NinjaSistah. After all, she's the one who damned it in her very first post on this site. She killed it, but like Frankenstein's monster, it lives on.
The Official U.S. Playstation Magazine (that was always a tough name to swallow) died with the January 2007 issue -- killed by lack of advertising sales, the introduction of the lame PlayStation 3 and, I think, by NinjaSistah's devastating post about it almost a year ago, which you can read here.*
But OPM lives on -- in Britain. And they're even putting Blu-Ray demo discs inside. How well they will survive the trip from Europe to America is anybody's guess, though. Read more about it here.
* -- A little postscript on NinjaSistah's experience with OPM demo discs: She cancelled her subscription to OPM last year after having been a subscriber for several years. A few months later she started receiving the magazine free through a different distributor. The discs were packed perfectly and she never received another bad or broken disc. And then OPM stopped publishing entirely. C'est la vie!
Sony has once again recommitted itself to its claim that it will ship 6 million Playstation 3 boxes by March 31. But just where are those boxes all going? We think we might have the answer in this comic...
What would you think of a mobile gaming device with these specifications? It's only 0.46 inches thick. It has a speaker, a microphone and a camera. Held horizontally, its screen is 480 pixels wide, just like the PlayStation Portable, and 320 pixels tall, nearly 50 pixels taller than the PSP's 272 pixels. At 160 pixels per inch, its screen is the most dense of any standalone portable gaming device. It's got up to 8 GIGABYTES of RAM (compared to the PSP's 32 MEGABYTES). It's got touchscreen controls. It has 802.11 b and g Wi-Fi capabilities (PSP has only b) and Bluetooth built in.
Oh yeah, it's also a mobile phone, an internet browser and an iPod.
The iPhone, announced earlier today during Apple's MacWorld keynote speech, is a whole lotta things. Most people are going to buy it because it's an amazing mobile phone combined with an iPod. But there are a lot of reasons why it could become a force among gamers.
First of all, its mere specifications make it better than any standalone mobile gaming system. Although the screen is not physically as large as the PSP (the iPhone's screen is only 3.5 inches, compared to 4.3 inches for the PSP), it meets the PSP in pixel width and exceeds the PSP in pixel height -- the PSP's pixels are simply larger and, as a result, coarser.
The iPhone is half as thin (0.46 inches vs. the PSP's 0.9 inches) and half as heavy (135 grams vs. the PSP's 280 grams). Held horizontally, it is a third less in width (4.5 inches vs. PSP's 6.7 inches) and a half-inch less in height (2.4 inches vs. PSP's 2.9 inches).
There's just one problem: no games.
The gaming market for the Macintosh dried up when the computer's 10th operating system OS X arrived in 2000. But the iPhone is exactly the catalyst that could turn things around for gaming on the Mac.
The iPhone shows great potential in this area. It has Google Maps and the Opera browser built in. It has "push" email, provided by Yahoo, which gives it email capabilities similar to that on a Blackberry. It is able to run Apple's Dashboard widgets, which should at least allow for simple games when it is available in June. Everything else is a big question mark: How much RAM is there? What is the graphics card? Is there stereo Bluetooth support? Will third-party Dashboard widgets work? Is there going to be a Software Development Kit to allow high-end game makers access to the device?
Perhaps few people will even care. With the Nintendo DS and PSP slugging it out on the high end and LG, Samsung, Nokia and other cellphone makers battling each other in that arena, maybe no one will take a second look at gaming on an iPhone.
But the sheer combination of all those different technologies sure is intriguing, isn't it?
Oh Sony. It sucks to be you. If you listen to our podcast on a regular basis you know that I've always had my doubt about the PS3 system. I thought that the machine was  too pricey for a gaming console  too bulky; after having a PSTWO that was soo sleek being forced into a console with a larger form factor than an XB360 kinda el-sucko and  had one of the worst PR campaigns I had ever seen for a console. How does one get excited about a PS3 after watching those eerie "Play Beyond" commercials? Seriously, I'd like to know. In any case, it doesn't surprise me that people are now returning PS3 that they slept overnight in sleeping bags in front of Best Buys to the stores because they can't make more than 100 bucks in profit selling the things on eBay. If you can't make twice your initial investment, might as well make your money back and call it a day. The fact that you can walk into a Best Buy, after Christmas and get a PS3 in your hot little hands even with Sony still in a manufacturing hole is not good news for Sony. Nintendo however is farting in their general direction, and in all honesty I couldn't be happier.
Why you ask? Is it because I'm a Nintendo fangirl? No, not in reality. No, the reason I take solace in Nintendo being the projected winner in the holiday gaming battle royal is because we've been proven right. I've been saying since late June that the Wii was going to be the bad mamma jamma this holiday season because it's the casual gamer that console makers need to go after. Those are the "new dollars" when it comes to profit. Hardcore gamers aren't just going to stop gaming, but they are going to tend to stick to a particular franchise or game genre which will not add to your bottom line if you are a console maker. Halo freaks will by everything Halo you can throw out into the world... but how many Halo titles worth $60 can you make a year?
So, this is my note to all the Sony fanboys and girls out there that slammed us for even speculating that the PS3 was going to suck not going to be the automatic slam dunk that Sony VP's and P's would have like us all to believe:
Not too long ago, the Playstation 3 hit the shelves and homes of many around the world. Not long after, they were on Ebay selling for thousands of dollars. A little over a month later, are people still itching to “Pay Beyond”?
It seems that people are actually dumping the PS3 on Ebay just to get rid of them. Some of the sellers are actually losing money on them. Call me crazy, but when a newly launched system is being dumped at a loss of profit, shouldn’t that be a cause for worry? It’s almost Christmas so you’d think the bidding wars for these systems would be vicious right about now. Could it be that people are realizing that the system is something they could do without, at least until there’s a bit more to do with and on it?
I’m not hatin’ on those who were able to make a pretty penny off the system’s initial launch hype. More power to you! I’m just glad that people are starting to wise up and let Sony know that if you’re going to sell a system for that much money then you had BETTER come with something stronger than games I can play on a cheaper system, a wireless controller, and creepy commercials telling me to "Play Beyond". Come on Sony. Make me want to go in a store and buy your system, because at this rate, I’ll be able to get a cheaper one on Ebay with some included accessories and games.
Honestly, I'm not exactly sure about what we exactly discussed during the taping of this episode, but I do know that Pandalicious was fascinated by a new anime series she caught a glimpse of called Kanon and MagicMysticGrl had some beef with the feature length [or not near enough length] film Eragon.
Me? I just had a bit of "c'mon back to reality with the rest of us" Sony news, and wanted to ask the gals about some growing trends I'm noticing in anime more and more these days. Oh yeah, I talk a bit about UFO: Ultramaiden Valkyrie and let the other two try and do the closing business. It's a fun episode, enjoy.
Day one with the brand spankin' new PS3 is about done and I have a few things that warrant mentioning.
Frustrated doesn't even begin to cover the first 40 minutes that I spent with my new PS3. First I couldn't get the machine to connect to the internet. It was only getting a partial internet connection and allowing the system update to run that I was able to get on the internet... well I was able to get to the screen where I setup my UID for the Playstation Store. While [for the most part] I think the implementation of the XMB [Xross Media Bar, great name Sony] I find that using the PSP multitap text input buttons from the PSP XMB is a huge mistake. It takes forever to get your text in using this method. I understand why you would want to use the multitap for the PSP as you have limited screen space on that device, but the PS3 is going to be hooked up to a TV screen most of it's life... using an on screen keyboard wouldn't have killed them. It can't be hard to do, Microsoft did it.
But, I did finally get my account setup [NinJaSistah is a PITA to enter as a UID on multitap btw] so it was game time right? Not exactly. I still had to do some tweaking to the system before it was ready for prime time, but I have to say I wasn't impressed. The avatars are kinda pathetic looking eventhough they are from existing games. [Much like those in XBLive] and even on my beautiful 42 inch TV, what I was looking at wasn't all that impressive. This open box experience didn't offer me anything I hadn't seen before. The only thing at this point that I found interesting was that the user guide has a section devoted to explaining how to install a new hard drive. So bigger, badder 2.5inch SATA drive we come. I'm thinking 250GB oughtta do it.
After that uplifting moment, I settled in to getting my game on. I grab Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom because it's a hack n' slash and I need some button mashing fun. The game is boring for the most part [in the beginning] but it's easy to use and grows on ya. I'm now comboing my way to game euphoria and I feel much better... except something keeps nagging at me. It takes me a while to put my finger on it, but I finally figure it out, it's the new controller. Without the rumble stuff and cable, the thing is so light it's as if there's no there there. It takes some getting used to, but I do like it. I feel better about possibly flinging this thing around as it could hardly do any damage unlike some of those deadly flying Wiimotes. Having the L2 and R2 buttons dangle off the bottom makes me a little leary of using them for fear of breaking them, but I got over it. I have to say that I prefer this controller to the previous batwing style. There is already so much to get used to with the new setup that a new controller probably would have been too much.
I'm going to hold off final judgement on the system until next week because I'm picking up HDMI cables this weekend and it would only be fair to complete the review with this pupple hooked up using the "ultimate" cable connection. But if I had to rate the thing now, it would be about a 3 out of 5.
Be on the look out for my piece next week when I hook up the HDMI and commense to BlueRay watchin.
I'm writing this post knowing full well that the UPS dude is going to be Santa today by delivering to me a brand spankin' new PS3, so I should be terribly excited. When my Wii was on it's way to me I could hardly contain myself. [Just ask any of the 3 billion people I gave the countdown to Wii-livery on a daily basis.] But I don't have that same enthusiasm with my pending PS3 ownership, and I'm baffled by that.
I should be running up and down the street telling everyone and anyone who will listen that this supposed beast of a machine is going to be in my hands. I am going to be one of the chosen few with a PS3 and games in my grubby lil paws before Christmas... SIXAXIS is mine! And yet, here I am, just kinda ho hum about the whole thing. I think it's because there isn't anything available on the PS3 [aside from Resistance: Fall of Man that I can't play on any other system including the PS2. For me, there is no killer app on the PS3. All of the games that I am excited about seeing/playing/trying aren't available for the system yet, and now some of those are going to be available on the XB360 as well, so again no "draw" for me as a gamer to be all psyched about this new console. Even the motion sensor thing isn't much of a draw at this point because I've had that type of experience already on the Wii and I love it. So if I [an admitted former Sony fangirl] isn't tripping over myself to be meet the UPS man at the door, who is?
Just a question I've been bouncing around my head all morning before I head out for the movie theater. I'll catch y'all later after I actually get my system and see if I have a better answer for my own question. If you have any thoughts, share em, I'm curious about what you guys are thinking on the subject.
Animal Crossing : Wild World for Nintendo DS by Geek Woman
Animal Crossing for the Nintendo DS is like a tiny milling MMO of ity bity people. There is a large "E" friendly community surrounding it. In addition to being able to connect and play with other DS owners while in the same physical location, the easy to use wifi capability can connect you with other players world wide.
It is an ingenious game in several aspects. The security for keeping identities secret seems to work and it is fairly easy to screen and block out unwanted parties. The exchange of a Friend Code has to be given someplace out side of the DS. It has to be someone that you physically know or meet through numerous Friend Code listing message boards. Once there though how would someone know if they were communicating with a an adult or a kid? They do require a verifiable email address to register at most forums. But that isn't much protection, so wifi chat should be supervised. Also many McDonald's restaurants and other hotspots permit people to play together wirelessly on the DS.
The game has an understandably "E" rating. However it should be specified someplace that a person does need to be able to read fairly well in order to be able to play the game. Maybe at some point in the future suggestions about the age a kid who would enjoy a game could be made on the packaging. Like "for children 5 and up".
Game-play You would think that game that consists of farming a fruit orchard, fishing and collecting fossils would be relaxing. Not for me. I became obsessed with paying the huge, escalating and continuous morgage(s). Oh no! This is like a nightmare. I suppose it is to teach kids responsibilities but it made me frantic. I picked oranges and gathered shells. I learned how to perfect my fishing skills pretty quickly. In the first day I got it paid off. I thought I would be relieved then. But it was not to be. Tom Nook the owner of the only store in town, extorted me for another mortgage to build me a bigger house, even after I told him I didn't want it. This reminds me of an episode of the Xfiles... At least I could pick a lilac roof. Now I have an even more huge debt! If you do chores for townspeople, dig up some treasure, and discover some of the other secrets hidden in the game you earn lots of gold. There are many little side ‘missions’ in AC:WW.
I consoled myself with fishing. I caught several kinds. Notably I got a Koi and an Octopus. When I returned to the store the next morning they were closed. I am worried that my fish might spoil. I read online that I can time travel and set the time back on the clock to sell the fish. Then I have to reset the clock back to the correct present time so that I don't screw up the game. Heaven forbid that if after you turn the DS on - that you change your mind. A creature pops up and bitches you out with over 30 screens of a harangue about how important it is to save the game before you shut it off. Typing in "Shut up" or other epithets don't help any. I would love to know how to get that dubious feature to quit.
I was penalized for my trips back to the past by loosing trees. Several of my flower plants also looked as if they had been plant - napped by a neighbor and put in her garden. When I switched my clock to February 14th there was snow on the ground and my plants in that time weren't too happy about this.
Fishing is a tricky but fun pass time. The ocean wave sound effect is almost convincing with ear buds. This is a typical RPG. You build stuff, customize things, plant gardens and weed around the town. But the map is tiny. It suffers for only having one little town area to be in - unless you visit other peoples towns to trade items online. Compared to Pokémon which has many of these tiny towns all on one GBA cartridge this game has only one small one. The moon phases and weather are correct for my area. But this game goes in too many directions and is lacking fundamental basics. If space mattered then some of the odd customization features could have been skipped. Making constellations, or designing umbrellas could have been done without for example - to make the individual single person game experience larger.
Customization gives you the option to decide what you want the interior of your house to look like, along with your clothes, hairstyle, outdoors, museum, constellations, and music playing in your house. Compared to the GameCube version of AC, there are more items and more to do in the new DS version. Online, you can buy items from people. That makes it easier to complete sets you’ve been trying to collect.
To make me even more paranoid the game is still playing even though I am not. For example, if you don’t play the game for a month, your town will have weeds throughout. The weird townspeople will forget who you are, and sometimes move out. There isn’t a big reason beyond obsession to continue playing the game after a few days or so. You would have to pick all the weeds, and talk to everyone in your town again which isn't very interesting. I got crestfallen seeing that my trees and plants died. You can only plant one tree per day so many of my fruit trees died. I am glad I don't have as bad luck with gardening in real life. That would be sad. There’s not much motivating you to play this game in the first place, and the punishing mortgages aren't enough incentive to make you continue playing it. There is a thin line between realistic and engaging and reality check and stressing. AA : WW is more like a sim than a game.
Sound and Music The background music changes every hour all of the tunes sound boopey and empty. The animals don't talk, they make odd little noises which you can thankfully shut off. It has a rudimentary sound program in it so you can make your own Town song and online you can use that to play songs that people have worked out and posted the tablature for. Also in the coffee shop in the Museum you can watch a coffee bar act and listen to several unlockable songs there if you are into music on the Nintendo there is plenty of it to be found in this game.
Multiplayer When it comes to networking and people skills the DS is way ahead of the Sony PSP on this so far. Though Microsoft also intends to push Nintendo's hardware out of people's hands, they will be hard pressed to compete with the feel good, goody - good Nintendo. Again another one, a community that springs up like magical mushroom fairy rings around games like this one. There is something about Nintendo characters that make people rabid, and this is one of them.
The game is addictive without being entirely fun. It is an amusing way to kill time. And it will kill lots of time on you in between battery charges. Collecting items can make you crazy. There are several aspects of this game that are vast and endless. Though somehow filling all that empty space sometimes feels daunting rather than exciting. It is all about the grind without really getting anyplace. Skills like fishing have an endcap on them. There is a finite number of kinds of fish that you can catch.
It is a step forward in technology and it plays very stable. It is a solid game and from what I understand kids really like it. There are a number of women playing it. It could be considered a chick game because of the heavy elements of clothing and interior design and the lack of violence. The characters are those cute little badly rendered icons that seem to charm people so much. Not much to complain about here I give it a 4 out of 5
If you are looking for some shopping advice on game hardware for the female, or male, gamer on your list then hopefully this article will help you understand it all. The location that is preferred for a game environment is an important choice to be aware of if you are shopping for games and accessories for your gamer. Games come in three basic types which are the PC, Console or Handheld. I'm going to try and give you the keys to the kingdom of the consoles.
First of all "What is a game console?" These are a box like machine that you attach to a TV set. Games are played with a controller that is held in the hands and effects the action on the screen. These have indeed been around since Pong and Pac Man, and if that is where you left the game trail, then you might be glad to know that those old school or retro games are still offered, in game packs and collections. Sometimes they have been updated and upgraded. If you want to pick up something like that for a gift you need to know the brand name and the model of the console or game device that your gamer has. Write it down and take it with you when you go shopping.
Some people opt for playing games on their PC rather than on the television. It seems that older people and women are the dominant demographic that enjoy using the PC for gaming. PC game - play are very popular for playing the massively multiplayer online games or MMOG's. Games such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars are played on a PC with a keyboard and mouse. These games enable the player to interact with thousands of other players. Some of them also include the ability to talk to the other people while you are playing with them. Thought those features have been developing more slowly on PC. If your friend is playing an MMO there aren't many additional accessories for those. If they are a Guild Wars Player they may not have the new chapter called Nightfall which is a great game to add to the original Guild Wars or to buy it as a stand alone game. There are the Limited Edition Keyboards that are available for the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing) games that are good looking and work well which are sold by a company called Zboard. Zboards
Perhaps the best way to determine what console to buy is to go by the age of the person who will be playing it. Right now there are three "next gen" consoles. Last year in November Microsoft upgraded their hardware and it is called the Xbox 360. It has mid - range graphics. There are over 100 games available for it at this time. The games are mainly of the first person shooter type or FPS and sports games. If you have heard of Halo 2 and Gears of War, or Oblivion those are titles for the Xbox 360. These games are for a mature crowd. The action is fast paced and bloody. Often the most popular games for the "360" carry a "T" for Teen or an "M" for Mature rating. Those ESRB ratings mean that Teens of 17 and 18 years old and above are the recommended age limit. These ratings can mean that there could be language or behaviors that some people would consider too crude for younger kids. It is no joke either. If you have a mix of older and younger kids in the house, the choice of games is crucial and requires your attention as much as monitoring what movies on DVD or cable that your younger kids could get into.
With Xbox the online aspect is called Xbox Live. A paid subscription is required for this additional service. With the online feature more games and demos are available to download directly into the console. The console can be bought with one of a few choices of hard drive size for saving downloadable games and other functions. Xbox Live gives players access to playing with many other players at the same time. It isn't 'massively' multiplayer as it is with with PC. Although large groups of strangers can interact with each other in an open ended party - line conversation. There are over 4 million users on Xbox Live. Xbox Live has something of a reputation for "Trash -Talking" which in short, means that a player that is wearing the headphones is opening themselves up to the possibility of hearing unkind and curse word laced tirades about the flaws in their game from other players. There is no one monitoring these conversations and there is no one censoring what the others could be saying. Because of this tendency, I would not recommend the Xbox 360 for little girls or young women under 18.
Costs for the annual subscription is approximately $50 US, its called Xbox Live Gold which includes voice chat, and Xbox Marketplace for gamers to buy and sell content. Sometimes original games, and old school arcade titles are downloadable. Xbox 360 works on HD TVs. They claim to have 250 old Xbox or "original Xbox" games that will play on the new console. Be careful to look up a list online for games that are called "backwards compatible" prior to inserting an old Xbox game into the Xbox 360. The digital media that it plays are DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD.
Microsoft has two variations of Xbox 360 available for sale. One has the Xbox 360 faceplate, and a Silver Xbox Live package, $300 known as a core package, that comes with one wired controller, standard A/V cable, and the console. The Gold package is required to actually play online games. There is a $400 system with a 20 GB hard drive, Xbox 360 Remote Controller, High Definition TV component cables, Xbox 360 headset and a wireless controller.
Next the Playstation 3 was released last week the manufacturer's suggested retail price is between $600 and $700 dollars US. It has been in the news and has gotten some bad press. Most of the incidents involved mismanagement of the long lines of people who were camping out to be able to get the very low quantity of these premium machines that were produced. One Massachusetts man was shot in a hold up of a line of customers waiting outside a store in Putnam Connecticut. The gunmen were attempting a hold up when this man refused to pay them. Because Sony was not able to make enough of these complicated advanced machines to fulfill the demands for them, it created chaos in several ways.
In the past Playstation 2 has been the most popular gaming console in the US with the most millions sold. Perhaps Sony should have waited to launch the sale until they had more of them ready. The PS3 Platform plays a few more accessories peripherals than the 360. It also boasts to be the most graphically advanced system. The new Blu-Ray Disc™ is a type of High Definition disk for playing movies that is supposed to be the future of disk published media. The way that DVD's replaced VHS a few years ago. The PS3 has what is called a SIXAXIS™ wireless controller that interacts with the screen in a close to 3D experience. You can use your Playstation 3 with High-Definition displays as well as conventional or standard TVs. It comes with either a 20GB or 60GB removable hard disk drive (HDD). The thousands of PS One® and PS2 PlayStation®2 games as well as CDs and DVDs are useable on the PLAYSTATION®3. The thing supposedly plays just about everything including some digital photo cards.
The PS3 has online capabilities including multiplayer gaming, text and video messaging, voice chat, downloading content and browsing the web. Even though the PS3 has impressive technical specifications, you may not be able to get one for the December holidays. It could be a moot point until sometime next Spring. There are over inflated PS3 prices on ebay, and buying those is not only exorbitantly expensive, but could be risky as well.
The PLAYSTATION®3 is available in two configurations with either the 20GB hard disk drive or the 60GB HDD. Some PlayStation 2 or PlayStation format software titles may perform differently on the system than they do on the native systems for example the PS3 doesn't support a vibration controller.
Then last Sunday the offering of the first Nintendo Wii consoles' launch was a 1960's "Love In" where the people in lines waiting were exchanging free hugs, ordering lunch for each other and playing games together. Something can be said about the two different types of people that were attending these launch parties. For the most part the Nintendo Wii draws a younger crowd and is most popular with younger kids and people that enjoy Nintendo's cute and quirky games.
There are approximately 50 games for the Wii, and we are told that there will be enough of the consoles to go around. Nintendo and developers seem to be in a rush to create new games for this innovative new product. Nintendo wanted to bring gaming to everyone, and has many titles that are rated for all ages and for kids. They went one more step and made a controller that is supposed to be easier to pick up and play since it is designed to resemble a television remote controller. You play with two hands and the actions resemble the actual movements of slashing a sword or driving. The remote is used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions . The controller set called the "nun-chucks and wii-mote" interact with a sensor strip that you placer near your TV for a realistic complete 3D experience. A one-handed controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection in conjunction with the sensor bar to sense its position in 3D space. Some people have found the workout to be a bit strenuous
The Nintendo Wii is not all things to all people the way that the other two consoles are attempting to be an all around media hub that takes the place of all the other components in your home entertainment center. What the Wii does do is add another level of fun and mirthfulness back into games. The unique controller has been a big hit so far and has gotten high marks from every reviewer. It is rare for something so gimmicky and unusual to get such a unanimous welcome from the jaded and snarky gaming community. People that have the 360 are getting the Wii too because it is like the apples and oranges in the PC world yet again.
The Wii is an ideal choice for a household with older and younger kids, seniors, and for the homes that do not have a High Definition TV set. Those aren't interested in the more mature titles, and those chat capabilities that are for adults or older kids can have a fairly safe online experience with the privacy and Friend policies from Nintendo. The console also features its own online service WiiConnect24 , which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet. The Wii console won the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show and Best Hardware. The console has a few kid safety features such as parental controls to prohibit younger kids from playing the wrong games. It reads the content rating and won't play games that are not set to the right age level.
The number of Wii consoles that will be available in the Americas during the launch rollout are expected to meet demand and sales of 4 million consoles worldwide by the end of 2006 are anticipated. The company affirmed that they "are working to ensure a plentiful supply and a consistent flow."
The launch Wii package includes the console, a stand to allow the console to be placed vertically, a circular clear stabilizer for the main stand, one Wii Remote, one Nunchuk attachment, one Sensor Bar, a removable stand for the sensor bar, one external main power adapter, AV cables (component video and other type of cables will be available separately), and a copy of Wii Sports in the US and Canada. The Wii console is the smallest home console unit of the three contenders and the least expensive at $250. US. The front of the console features a slot-loading media drive lit up by a by distinct blue light and it accepts both Wii software and discs from Nintendo's prior console, the Game-Cube. They are telling us that it is fully backwards compatible with all the Previous Game Cube games.
Additionally the interface for the console is designed around the concept of television channels, with a Wii Menu. Nintendo will not charge fees for playing games from the service. Channels are graphically displayed, and are navigated using the point of the Wii Remote. They are the Disc Channel, Mii Channel, News Channel, Forecast Channel, Photo Channel, Wii Shop Channel, Internet Channel. The Virtual Console Channel is basically an “online service, similar to Xbox Live Arcade. The Nintendo DS will be able to play game demos downloaded from the Wii console which gamers would receive from Nintendo, similar to a DS Download Station. Gamers can download retro games not only for the NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64, but also Sega’s Genesis, NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 and others. The Wii has average graphics and only a 512 MB built-in flash memory, expansion is available via SD card memory, up to 2 GB max. It will take Game-Cube Memory Cards for saving GCN games only.
In addition to the larger game consoles or PC games that you find at home, mobile games have become very popular. The Nintendo DS is a hand held, rechargeable dual screen portable game system. It comes in a variety of colors and it is pocket sized. It is the most popular handheld game console, which easily buried the competition, which were the Sony PSP and the N-Gage. it has continued to hold the record for the most units sold just as the Game Boy has for years. It comes in two sizes. The original unit that made its debut last year, is referred to as the 'NDS' and it can play both the library of Game Boy Advance games as well as games for the DS. The DS Lite is a smaller sleeker version of the same DS machine, but it smaller and does not have the additional slot for the GBA games. You can find several reviews and editorials about the DS right on this website. Nintendo DS and the Wii are expected to have a type of connectivity to use functions like the Nintendo DS's microphone and touch-screen as inputs for Wii games like Pokémon Battle Revolution. It is expected that all of Nintendo's huge repertoire of well known game franchises, such as Zelda, Metroid, Mario, Animal Crossing, and Pokémon will come to the Wii in some form.
For very tiny kids and toddlers Leapster has the education interactive toys for under $100 Leapster
For an easy comparison chart you can check out Gamefly. They have a chart showing the three consoles. The Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3. Renting games or giving a Gamefly subscription is a good gift idea.
We finally got some cash together and figured we ought to hit a big convention/tradeshow and CES was the obvious choice. CES is the Consumer Electronic Showcase, basically anything and everything electronic that companies could possibly want to sell to you [the consumer] make their debut here. CES has been going strong and growing strong since 1967, so to say that we are excited to become part of this rich tech history would be a slight understatement.
Now you might be saying to yourself, "Why is the ESH crew going to CES? Isn't it just a bunch of TV's on display?" It's a valid question to ask, but it ain't accurate. CES is actually the show that COMDEX and even the former incarnation of E3 were modeled after, and while there will be a lot of new TV technologies introduced at the show there will also be lots of home theater setups, sounds systems and components, wireless technologies, and even video game related items that will surface from the show. I think as gamers sometimes we forget that getting our hands on the latest and greatest game stuff isn't limited to just a console, or piece of software.
No matter who you are you have a gaming rig that you use, be it just a 23" TV or an elaborate setup containing a 7.1 surround sound system, 42" flat screen LCD TV, a chain of UPS', several gaming consoles, a harmony remote, and a theater style seating arrangement. [Huge sigh] With that said, one of the things that you will start seeing around ESH will be our takes on different components that you may or may not want to add to your rig, so it only makes sense to us that we start by going to CES. We are going to be looking at different audio setups, home theater systems, peripherals for both computer based and console based gaming, LCD TV's [this will come in handy for those of you wanting to upgrade that tiny little 25" TV to something a little sexier] mobile gaming, and gaming in general. And we can't forget portable media stuff, mostly because they won't let us. We'll be on the look out for the hottest new gadgets at the show that will help you get the most out of your iPod, portable video player... hell we'll even take a look at stuff for the Zune while we're at it. We are committed to covering your electronic needs, but only in the good way.
While CES is not E3, Microsoft and Sony are going to be there, and there is going to be a separate "video gaming" section on the tradeshow floor, so we aren't going to be forgetting our roots any time too soon. It just seems to us like it's time to take that next step forward in covering the whole spectrum of gaming life, that I think sometimes gets overlooked. You can't use a game console without having a TV to hook it up to. You can't hear the games without some kind of sound system hooked up to [or built into] that TV your connected to, and you have to have some place to park your ass in order to play and enjoy those games you are playing... and in January, NinJaSistah and Evermore are going to bring you some first hand accounts of the new toys you'll want to add to your rig from CES.
This will be one time that what happens in Vegas, doesn't stay there!
Here I am, the day before the annual "Feast of Overstuffment Day," and I'm still waiting for my Nintendo Wii to arrive. To say that this has been a difficult week would be a gross understatement.
I was actually one of the lucky folks to get in on the Gamestop Wii Bundle Pre-Order, but my billing address is not the same as my current living address... hence the delay in my actually ripping open that puppy and getting my Red Steel on. This has also been the major contributing factor in us not having any first hand accounts with either the Nintendo Wii or Sony PS3. We haven't been able to get our hands on the systems, and neither company has graced us with a demo box... which makes NinJa a sad panda.
Not to rub it in, I was also able to get a PS3 Bundle Pre-Order from Gamestop [those ho's go soooo much of my hard earned cash this past month it's ridiculous!] so I expect that puppy to pop up shortly after the Wii. Then it will be time to start re-assembling the "gaming rig of joy!" [Damn that TV is FINE!!] Moving on. The reason that I'm so excited about having both bundle systems isn't for the greedy reason you may think. Both bundles have some similar game titles in them so I can do a direct comparison of the same title across all of the next-gen systems. That's XB360, Wii, and PS3 for anyone that may forget that the year old XB360 is still a next-gen system. Lots of people say that you can't compare the systems because their individual architectures are so different, it would be similar to trying to compare donuts to dinkleberries. And I will concede to that to a point. But having the same game title, made by the same developer, on each system concurrently I think is a great way to do a superficial system comparison.
So first up on my hit list [once all systems are in, hooked up, and gtg] will be Madden 07. If you have any suggestions for games that are on all 3 console systems that you would like to see on NinJaSistah's Assassination List, let a sistah know!
The Sony and Nintendo fangirls and boys already know which new console is better. So the only question that remains is this: Which group is sexier -- girls selling PlayStation 3's or girls selling Nintendo Wii's?
On Friday we presented a slideshow of females hawking the PlayStation 3 on eBay -- some of them showing a distinct lack of clothing. Well, it seems that the moment people got their hands on the Wii on Sunday morning, girls started stripping for the cameras again in order to gain a little bit of advantage while trying to sell the Wii on eBay.
Here's your chance to compare for yourself. Click the links below to check out each gallery of game-sellin' girls and let us know which camp you think has the sexier girls:
PS3 mania is about to drop tomorrow, and since I refuse to personally become part of the debacle, I figured it would only be fair to share some of my thoughts with you.
First know that any place you go [unless you camp out tonight to get one of the first, if not the first spot in line] is not going to have a PS3 system for you. Sure, you may know a guy that knows a guy who has a cousin that works at Walmart... but unless he's going to put a box in your hand from the loading dock, accept that November 17th is not going to be your day. I even tried to be slick by calling ahead to some stores that I figured would get some PS3 units, but that most people would overlook as a possible shopping outlet, only to find out that they were getting one or two units at most. No camping out allowed. No pre-ordering and no ordering over the phone. First come, first served... as it should be, but damn!
Not wanting to leave the story empty handed after waiting in line or venturing out in bad weather, a lot of folks will pick up items related to the PS3... like extra controllers, games, or even pre-order for games in hopes of negating a need to go out next Friday. I don't see this launch going very smoothly for Sony, retailers, or customers as quantities of systems are extremely limited... but I do think that tomorrow will be the first gauge of how important "next-gen" gaming is or will be in the near future. If the demand for PS3 is higher among casual gamers than the usual hardcore early adopters, then the future [next two years] is very bright for the PS3, Wii, and XB360. If not, we could see fewer games go into development or make it to "golden master" before they are scrapped in hopes of tying existing resources to already established franchise titles.
I'm not sure which way the cookie will crumble, but I'm curious about how it will all turn out. If you are one of the few, the proud, the lucky bastids, to get your hands on a PS3, or want to share some of your adventures in "PS3 procurement on launch day" land, comment to this post, or hit us up and let us know.
From reading and talking to so many female gamers I had gotten the impression that women have a very different game experience than males do. I set out to see if I was right.Studies do show that women players account for many game - play hours in online games. In my experience as a games writer I have found that women don't have an easy time of finding free time for video games. Often game play time is interrupted. Someone in the house will always need or want something if she sits down at the computer or picks up a controller. If people are not physically present there is the phone, the coffee pot, the micro (or crock pot depending on where you live), and washer / dryer that all will bleep, buzz or bloop for attention at exactly the wrong time.
The Pink Thing and Video Games by Geek Woman
It is no different if she has pets. When there are two small dogs and three cats for example then there are endless possibilities for someone's dish of water or food to be empty. Or they bark because they want "Out!" Or maybe a chew toy has fallen down the steps or a bone has landed behind the couch. Those dramas cause whining from small dogs which sounds like someone is filleting them for Carpaccio. Or the 16 year old cat may become suddenly interested in being on top of the fridge and then on top of Grandma’s TV. Enter the "home chaos factor", which may or may not be limited to one gender.
Where is everyone else in the place when one is playing a game? Perhaps selective hearing is on a different gene than multitasking? No one else can see who is at the door, get the mail or answer the phone, once a character in an MMO is set up to play. In the frequent situation when it takes you over an hour to get ready and arrive at the location where you want to play next, having long blocks of uninterrupted time is essential.
There has to be some furious multi tasking going on in the background that no one can see. Thank goodness for virtual online avatars. "Wait a second one of the cats is trying to annihilate the curtain..." One of my favorite moments in gaming was when my cat Miroku spelled out "M -I - L -T" when I stepped away from Dungeons and Dragons Online. He made my all character's skills disappear and had her dance merrily while stuck in a wall.
It is at these precarious times that one's character may or may not be safe while left alone to her pre-programed idling animation of scratching her butt. She may be beaten to a pulp. In many games when the area isn't safe you end the session by dying. Subsequently you lose all your points and items. This will depend on how sensitive the developers were to the million and one things that compete for a gamer's time.
In other games once you are out of the group you will spend yet more time finding a new group when you go back. In some games if you own a house that requires maintenance as in Ultima Online it could crumble into dust. Or you can get past due on your rent in Dark Age of Camelot The livestock in A Tale in the Desert could starve. There are the dreaded weeds of Animal Crossing. The randomness of life means there is going to be a lack of control over the length of our game session.
Not all games will have the content easily available for solo players or even want to. It is more convenient to play games which are instanced or provide content in small chunks. Games which require big clans of people to band together in groups, can achieve larger goals, like changing the landscape and becoming a virtual community. That has other advantages and takes an even greater investment of time.
Women make up 43% of all video game players. The number of gamers in the US is continuing to increase each year. At least four out of ten people play video games in the United States. When you read over all the reports it comes out even with women having a larger share overall. Games that make it easiest to save progress after a session of game - play or the ability to save at any time are assets to female gamers.
Because of what I'm calling a the "home chaos factor" (or office) women play a great deal of the flash based puzzle, games, board games and quizzes which have shorter initial durations. Women also have higher numbers playing children's games on PCs and consoles. Women have stats that double the male numbers in playing dance and music games. Another area where there seem to be more women than men playing are the classic arcade type of ports.
Women are multi-taskers, and the Internet provides quick connectedness, and information about games during game play. Women apparently do have a different game experience than men do. Women surveyed stated they had other tasks going and other media on in the background while gaming, either the TV, radio or MP3's were used no less than 70%. Since males had higher console than PC use than women, then they weren't necessarily able to be watching TV at the same time.
Using my reverse logic - if aspects in real life from travel and shopping markets were implemented in game-play, the experience would be even more immersive. Some new statistics are said to show that women prefer to play games solo. Then they demonstrate that men seem to be more likely to group in an MMOG. Can the "home chaos factor" account for that too? I know that when I am playing an MMO I don't like to spend the extra time it takes to find a group of new people to play with to solve a quest. I've found that many of the women that I play with also try to go solo to save time and avoid the hassle of doing a mission repeatedly because new people don't know how to work as a team.
Women seem to prefer to travel and game alike with established friends. In fact if you look at those other industries like travel and entertainment women's preferences are much more apparent than in gaming. Those are statistics that could be easily transferred to marketing games that would make the game experience more fun. "Girls travel in packs" it can be said. Games on Xbox Live for instance, make it very easy for ladies to play games together and meet other gals.
In seeing who travel agents say is the average adventure traveler it is not the 28-year-old male that you'd think it would be. Travel agents figures show that a 47-year-old female is the most likely demographic to take nature, adventure, or cultural trips.
There aren't any universal truths about women. However reaching women gamers is more than just making things Barbie pink. Women do process information in a more detail-oriented fashion. Women will notice more and likely expect more. That means we notice amenities, textures, subtleties, and read between the lines.
“Now will you all shut up so I don’t get killed!”
A few weeks ago when Sony / Europe announced that it's dropping the price of the PS2 for Europe and the UK. In addition, they mentioned that they are cutting the price on PS2 memory cards. Then they made another couple of unusual announcements.
Stating that better efficiency has enabled cost savings to be made, Sony says that they are passing the savings on directly to new PlayStation 2 customers who may not want to shell out the $600 US and even more AU for the PS3.
Sony hopes that with over 2,000 game titles another market of PS2 owners will grab up the cheaper console. But that may not be the biggest news. Besides the price cut, they announced a new limited edition Pink PS2, which comes with two pink analog controllers and a pink memory card. The Pink bundle will be available from "selected retailers" throughout Europe starting November 8th, and in the U.K. it'll come with the karaoke game SingStar Pop .
At this time it is unknown if they will follow suit in the U.S. and AU. Some are saying that a comparable price cut will not come until next spring.
Sony is indeed going to offer a pink PSP in association, we're told, with the singer Pink with the intent being to to attract "young women with freedom, confidence and attitude" to the platform. Unlike the upcoming pink PS2 , the salmon-hued portable console doesn't ship with pink accessories, but it is a limited edition, Sony said.
The industry will have to start to think differently if it wants to reach the female customers. Just making things pink is not what we are after. One market study shows that girl gamers like to play during their spare time or when they're mobile. The Nintendo DS users are 44 percent female.
Studies by the US market research firms Yankee Group and Parks Associates confirm the trends that there are several market segments where girl gamers are ahead of males. Mobile phone games are predominantly played by female gamers. In the United States about 60 percent of the people who play games on their mobile phones are women.
David Gardner, chief operating officer for EA's worldwide studios, was speaking to a conference in Edinburgh. When he said the now much quoted line which was
"The game industry has been failing women"
He said the industry had to learn from the film business. And not too long ago this humble jounalist suggested that the games industry look at numbers from the Travel business to find out what girls want.
Mr Gardner got one thing right "They don't want 'pink games'. They are not trying to play girly games where Paris Hilton and Britney Spears go shopping and put make-up on. Those kind of things have not been that successful."
But he said games such as The Sims and websites such as Pogo.com proved there was a market for women gamers.
"Most of the Sims players are girls - 70% are women under 25," he said. The Sims, which is published by EA, is arguably one of the world's most successful game - with more than 40 million copies sold.
Mr Gardner said the industry needed to "create some mega hits in the girl space and that it would potentially add a billion dollars to their revenues. That's not small change. It confirms what we have been saying for years.
Four of our 11 studios around the world are run by women. That's an important start. That is why it is so important for young women to get hired by game development studios now.
Just making a console or a handheld pink doesn't guantee it will seel to women. Making a sinking ship handheld like the PSP in pink may not save it. The games for the PSP just aren't there, and there are more titles that are of interest to female gamers out for the Nintendo DS. Though some women gamers may be interested in picking up a new pink console, it would be as a novelty. I doubt that anyone is going to redecorate their family room which has black or silver components in the entertainment center, to accomodate a loud pink console.
A pink handheld game player is a cute accessory that fits into a purse and can match with outfits. But a pink console is going to become dated and very yesterday very quickly. I just saw a commercial for a large hardware depot store where a teen girl says to her Dad, "I'm grown up now, and I want to repaint my room." The pink poofy stuff is painted over with lime green, mauve and orange. Sorry Sony the new black isn't pink anymore.
Even though we write reviews, and make suggestions, go to conferences and kick butt in our clans and guilds the game developers and the console companies still don’t get it. We are gamers like the guys are. Stop reinforcing the stereotypes. Give us female avatars in games and equality in the industry.
And if you still don't understand what women want - well you can ask me! (For a price.)
Geek Woman is a freelance games jounalist and author of Geek Woman’s Game Guides. www.lulu.com/geekwoman She is the Editor in Chief of the Australian women’s gaming portal Game-Vixen.com. She has given a voice to women and girls who play video games to demonstrate to anyone listening that "We are here!" She lives in the USA with her partner, two pomeranians, three cats, scores of bitchy seagulls and a weedy garden.
Sorry for the delay on reporting on this one folks, but I just now got to it in my email box... so sue me.
As you probably already heard if you've been visiting any video game new websites in the past couple of days Nintendo threw down the gauntlet if you will, the other day, announcing all of the wonderful and kick bootay marketing they play on doing for the Wii here in the U.S.
I gotta be honest on this with you, Nintendo's not playing folks. They are spending millions and millions of dollars in hopes that you'll hear about the Wii, touch it, feel it, lust after it, and buy it. And not necessarily in that order, mind you. Between a bunch of hands on events, web viral marketing, and sweepstakes from your local 7-Eleven, the Pringles potato chip people, and the fine folks at Comedy Central, Nintendo is sparing no dollar to ensure that you people know their name. It's like Nintendo is saying, "Sony has what coming out before us? Oh, cool, but have you seen how WE roll?" Did I mention all the different TV shows that are going to have Wii features? I didn't? I'll get to that.
They already have my attention. I can't lie, I pre-ordered a Wii [finally] and I can't wait to get my little ninja hands on it. My only problem now is I can't decide if I want to play Red Steel or that sweet Zelda: Twilight Princess game. Decisions, decisions... but if you haven't gotten a Wii pre-order just yet, don't fret. Comedy Central will be giving Wii's away like it's Christmas! As a matter of fact, CC will give away one Wii every hour Thursday through Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. And one lucky sonofabitch at the end of the weekend, will win a Wii console and a Scion tricked out to look like a Wii. I'm not sure what that Scion will look like, but I bet it will be a bitch and a half to keep clean.
Oh, and we can't forget the mall, because we have to get em' where they live! [Sorry, couldn't resist that.] Nintendo is going to have a "mall experience" where basically there will be interactive Wiiosks in Westfield shopping centers with Wiiople, er people, who are trained to use the Wii around it. They will teach you how to play the Wii [or would one use a Wii?] while you're on your way to Cinnabon.
So, if you haven't got a Wii, don't sweat it. Watch TV, eat potato chips, or get a Slurpee... you might luck into one. And if that doesn't work, just go to the mall and walk off all those chips and slurpees!
If you know what a guy smells like who has just been out fishing, doing construction work or playing football then you can guess why women might fantasize about something else. Perhaps a meticulously and metrosexually groomed vampire who elegantly sweeps up to her balcony. Or a deadly but lovely demon who promises her his forbidden world. Or maybe women are just thinking about pretty animé men with long hair.
The anime games and DVD's that are coming to the U.S. recently are a myopic look into the animé subculture of Manga in Japan. There are many animé influenced games in both RPG's and in the fighting genre. This artform is getting very huge over here too. Because animé comes from another culture it reflects a different sort of attitude. It effects the roles of sportsmanship, and sexuality in the future of video games. Animé characters are favorered by women and girls.
Women like males with long hair. Perhaps even before Sampson and Delilah long hair symbolized virility. From back in the 60's when I can remember women saying "he's so beautiful, he looks like Jesus", to today when we have Fabio's famous mane and the sexy Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, chicks (and some guys) still dig long hair. Guys that work at Rennaissance faires sport long locks from the mideval ages and get descreet double takes from women patrons. Fantasy novels feature wizardly straight and gay men with long hair in various colors. These fictional story books are very popular with women.
In Inuyahsa (yes it is my fav) in the animé and the games, the main character has long white hair and cute dog ears. He is powerful and weilds an over sized magic sword and is in the process of discovering his sensitive human side and love. His brother Seshomaru has even more fantasticly long white hair. He plays the part of a full demon in a stunning white kimono. He seems deep and troubled by "important things in the past". He is the typical brooding unknowable character. Then Miroku the lecherous monk has long black hair that is worn in a ponytail. He wears several gold earrings. He is the most approachable of the three male lead characters, he is funny and sensitive. He makes long insightful speeches about the troubles that arise for the female characters and is often correct.
There are three very different male personalities in the game. All of them are strong and carry several weapons. But they are so cute that many people comment that they can't tell the boys from the girls on Inuysha. That is common with many anime´characters. Inuyasha is wildly popular with women and girls. It has got to be something to do with all the long haired males.
Unlike the animation industry in the U.S. where all the programming is largely aimed at young boys a good deal of Japanese animation also includes marketing to little girls. The teen girls and young adult women are given plenty of eye candy to ooh and ahh over also. Women helplessly find themselves sighing over bishonen with pink hair like Shon Gojo in Saiyuki. There are some Japanese animations that are thought to cater specifically to female tastes.
"Ren'ai" is a Japanese word meaning "romance" novel, and it can be a Japanese adventure game that is mainly point and click. They are mixed-media novels. Minimal player interaction is required. Some but not all ren'ai games contain erotic content. Adult oriented animé dating games are sometimes called a bishoujo game. Those are Japanese video games with sensual anime girls. Some of them contain romance and sexual content.
Animé both ways
Women like to read about sensitive long haired males in complex, dramatic relationship dilemas. The controversial American TV show Queer as Folk which is an adult series on the cable channel Showtime is about gay men and it is said to have had its highest viewership among presumably straight women. Ever enterprising and unabashed, animé capitalizes on this naughty voyuer side to female erotic interests too.
Even though entirely different dynamics are involved in real Japanese society and culture than what is reflected in animé, some obvious patterns of behaviour could be identified as distinctly Japanese. There are values such as conformity, marriage and loyalty that are plain to see. The Harvest Moon series notably added a female character to the recently released new RPG title. But the game guides the female player to marriage as a foregone conclusion in that simulation of life.
Subtle themes crop up in characters that are uniquely Japanese which turn the tables and reverse the roles of exploitation as Americans know it. Animé objectifies men. Male manga artists offer themselves up for the derision. They portray themselves as dogged, nose bleeding, worshipers of the truly oversexed female demi - goddesses that they have created. The men unashamedly admit that they are whipped. Is it a vicious cirle or a happy medium? Then they reinforce the pattern of the implausible by drawing males with gorgeous long hair in fantastic styles and who wear amazing costumes. All of which only a dedicated cosplayer can emulate. They make images of men that are just as impossible to attain as the air brushed silicon female pin ups that are the complaint of western women.
Many animé that are available in the U.S.A. now have some sexual under tones. Saiyuki has an ambiguous homoerotic subtext. Descendants into Darkness does so openly. Colorful and the Excel Saga are a raucious funny lampoon of animé that have very adult content. The males in Colorful are the typical nosebleeding, obsessed male stereo types who will endure anything to get a glimpse up a girl's skirt at her panties.
Sony and Mocrosoft have banned adult games from their consoles. Which I think is a shame. In my own improptu study I went shopping retail for a newly released game rated "E". I rarely do that, but my partner wanted it. We went to Kmart, Walmart, EB Games, and finally Kaybee Toys on our search. These stores have had the games kept behind glass in as long as I can remember. At all four of these retailers we adults were unable to access games without a key and an attending store employee. I don't see how adult titles are "getting into the hands of children" as some have claimed. I don't see why adult games would be so hard to integrate into a system that all ready is under lock and key.
If the right wing was worried about the Sims which is a game that is engineered to be bland (to inspire imagination) and it's sort of the Lego building blocks or Webils of video gaming, wait until they get a load of animé. I was reading an ebay story about how a Christian Mom took away the Yu-Gi-Oh collectible cards that her daughter had in her purse. The woman went through the daughter's purse regularly. Yu- Gi-Oh animé is very tame there is no sexual content in the games or shows. It teaches a litle ancient Egyptian mythology. All the Japanese animé card games, either on cardboard or for Gameboys, most noteably Pokémon teach children about competition, following rules, and being poilite and how to loose like a good sport. They are completly benign. Pokémon has no references to "magic" or spells of any kind. Yu -Gi - Oh and many others do. Magic and Wizards in animé may raise some eyebrows the way it has with Harry Potter.
Another twist that shows up often in animé are characters of unknown gender. In Cowboy Bebop "Edward" is a girl. We don't know this for sure until the plot unfolds more. In .hack//sign tv series and PS 2 games Tsukasa the wave master is permanently logged into "the world" as a male player. But again gradually as the series goes one we discover many secrets about Tsukasa are revealed. Eventually it leads to a very moving and unexpected ending.
A funny game with adult content that reminds me of Leisure Suit Larry, is the Lupin the Third Games for Game Cube. Those have the sort of slapstick funny approach to sexuality. The artstyle exagerates the female figure of the characters.
One of the most visible ways that animé characters have come to be loved by a large American audience is in the Dead or Alive series. Kasumi is a very well known and favored character. Her background story and a search for her brother are part of the game's back story. Granted Kasumi's character and background story is underdeveloped in the games. The game is infamous for the jiggliness and not the seriousness of her character. In game play her moves are great and she is a tough character to play with and to beat. But there is no doubt what her assets are. The graphics in Dead or Alive 2 are good. The characters are depicted in a fair amount of detail. The facial expressions look realistic. The characters' movements and clothes flows realistically, except for the pronounced bounce.
Animé is popular because it is bringing fresh artwork and ideas to a tired jaded American entertainment market. Women like it because it offers a variety of roles to play and exciting personas to get to know in a fantasy world. Males like it because there is more lassitude in the appearance of the female fantasy characters. Puritanical America can use to loosen up and enjoy themsleves. There are worse things than a little risque art and pass times like games.
It's Launch Week for the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii and there's nothing but rumors of riots in Japan, where the PS3 went on sale this past weekend, and rumors of folks being thrown out of Best Buy waiting lines. Here's some more stuff you might have missed...
If you're camping out in front of a Best Buy, a Target, a Wal-Mart or wherever for a PS3 or a Wii, you'll want to know just how many they have on hand, eh? Here's how to get those numbers.
Some PS3 die-hards have more money than sense. That's evident from these current Yahoo Japan auctions, which, as of late Sunday night, have bids on single PS3 systems of more than 2 Billion Yen. Comparatively, things were much more civilized in the U.S., as a top-of-the-line PS3 went for a mere $9,100, according to this eBay auction.
The PS3 case is beautiful and black -- as long as you keep it in the box. The Gizmodo guys discovered to their dismay that it doesn't take much to mar the surface of the case.
Bungie is adding a female voice to Halo, according to Frankie on the Bungie website: "Anyway, one of the things we're looking at for Halo 3 multiplayer (Master Chief is all man) is adding a female voice to the Spartan character should you choose it as part of your custom character."
USA Today says you might be better off just waiting to buy a next-gen console until next year. Awwwww, whadda they know?
Defying the laws of economics, it seems that, according to this article, the Xbox 360 is actually becoming more expensive to manufacture as time goes on.
HD takes a big step backward on Xbox Live, as one of the first games to be released in 1080p resolution will be a modernized version of Atari's classic Missile Command.
Already have a PS3 pre-ordered and just waiting on it to arrive? Time to RTFM! Sony has its PS3 online manual just waiting for you by clicking here. Enjoy!
Some people were upset about last week's GameStop online Wii preorder, which required the purchase of six games, an extra controller, an extended warranty and a magazine subscription, pushing the total to nearly three times the cost of the console alone. Well, GameStop's got nothing on CompUSA, which according to this ad will allow you reserve a PS3 -- as long as you purchase a 40-inch or larger Sony HDTV first.
I have to say, I'm getting tired of being accused of being a MS fanboy. Seriously, I am really starting to take offense man.
Allow me to explain why, with my top 5 reasons that I'm not a fanboy. [I'm too tired to come up with ten.]
It seems like whenever we share an opinion that's pro-system, or pro-exclusive console title, we get labeled as a "fanboy" with that system. It would be cool if it was just being labeled as "a video game fanboy," that I could handle with minor objections, but the dismissal of the ideas and thoughts put together on the sole basis of being a mega fanatic, well, plain old pisses me off.
So I've taken the time to compile this list of reasons why I'm not a fanboy to help those who like to use the "you're a fanboy, end of argument" clause know when it's appropriate and when it's not. It's a service I'm happy to provide you with so you can fight flame wars on a whole new level. Here goes.
No.05: All Consoles Are Welcomed I own or have owned at some time at least one hand held device or console from one of the major manufacturers. Sega Game Gear, Gamecube, Xbox, Playstation 2, Sega Genesis, owned em' all. In order to have the "fanboy" label stick, you have to be a console elitist.
No.04: I Read Many Gaming Mags, Not Just One. Yeah, you see that right, ok just wanna make sure. I do not have a paid subscription to any gaming magazine, but I do read many of them. EGM, OPM, OXM, CGM, Play, Game Informer, in addition to a few online mags. This means I hear about titles, games, and music from all the big [and small] development houses. To be worthy of the "fanboy" title, I'd have to pick one console and only read info about it... blocking out all other bits of info about other systems.
No.03: All System News Is News To Me New game releases on all systems are newsworthy or worthy of my attention. I'm going to be looking forward to Red Steel with the same amount of enthusiasm and curiosity levels that I have for Heavenly Sword and Halo 3. Not just the drawbacks or game glitches of other systems are worth noting or being aware of. I have to know a little bit about gaming in general in order to be able to form an opinion about it. If you haven't played Halo how can you honestly say it sucks? If you have never experienced the joy that is Amplitude, what is your basis for saying that your time is better spent kicking a dead squirrel? None, ya fanboy!
No.02: I Will Own All The "Next Gen" Consoles With very little need for thought I've already decided to own all of the next gen consoles. It may take some time due to lack of product on Sony or Nintendo's part, but as they become available I will buy them. I already own an XB360, but I'm already looking at ways to pick up the Nintendo and Sony boxes before the year is out. I like getting my hands on all the boxes so I can know what is fake and reality when it comes to each platforms ability, or lack there of. This way, when OPM says the graphics are 20 times better on the PS3 than XB360, I can fire up both systems and see for myself. I don't have to take the word of a possible "undercover fanboy" sway me one way or the other. It also keeps me from spouting off something I read as fact when it might just be wishful fiction.
No. I'm A Girl If you are going to accuse me of being a fanatic, get your terminology right. I can't be a "fanboy" as my physiology strictly contradicts this. I have boobs, and lady parts... that are all natural and if anything, would dictate the use of the term "fangirl" if you [after reading all of this list] still think the term applies.
Now I'm not saying that "fanboys" exist, hell, some of my closest friends happen to be fanboys. They do lead [mostly] productive lives and are great members of society, but many of them do need to have much of what they say when it comes to their console "loyalty" kinda go in one ear and out the other. I had one of my friends swear before Bob that the new chip in the XB360 was a suped up secret chip that IBM developed for the government but as a personal favor to Bill Gates sold to them for use in the XB360 instead. If I'm lying, may Bob strike me down as I type.
Well, I for one, feel better now. Enjoy your day... see you in Gears of War on XBLive bitches!
In the run-up to the launch of the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, there's going to be lots of rumors out there. At ElectricSistaHood, we're in as much of a fog as you are, so you can just take or leave these latest bits of information coming at us from all directions. It's all talk, and it's mostly crazy.
Thus Spake Mr. Chuck E. Cheese. Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant franchise, doesn't have kind words to say about Sony, according to an interview in Red Herring magazine: "With the PS and PS2 it was timing. They had the right pricing at the right time [and were] almost the accidental winner. It would not surprise me if a year from now they’ll be struggling to sell 1 million units. [Factoring in the PS3’s price], I think in the U.S. the number of early adopters you have is actually around 300,000." Crazy, man!
In today's news, we look at All Things Wii, with advice on how to get one on launch day, whether you'll need to bolster your health insurance to play the new controller, some Zelda pics, choice quotes from a Nintendo spokeschick and the lengths that a famous TV star will take to get one.
Need a Wii? Here's how to get it: If you missed out on the pre-orders, here are some great tips on how to get a Nintendo Wii on launch day.
Here's Best Buy's launch playbook: Planning on buying a PS3 or Wii from Best Buy? Then you'd better bone up on the company's launch weekend playbook. Kotaku provides all the details. Prefer shopping at Target? Here are their plans.
All about the Wii Startup Disc: Startup disc? That's right. You'll set up your Wii with an included startup disc. What will it do? The folks at Joystiq aren't sure, but there are certainly plenty of opinions.
The answer to the most important question of 2006: Will you get tired using the Wii controller? According to this story from someone who pounded hard at the Legend of Zelda for more than 10 hours, the answer is no.
Spoiling Zelda for you: Can't wait to see just how Zelda is going to look? Here's a site that reveals a bunch of screens from the Wii title.
Nintendo's questions and obfuscations: Game Informer magazine recently interviewed Perrin Kaplan, vice president of marketing and corporate affairs for Nintendo of America, about the Wii. According to Kaplan, several celebrities are already queueing up for the console, including Sean Combs and Uma Thurman. When asked about Nintendo's vantage point in the console war between Sony and Microsoft, Kaplan told Game Informer, "I think it could be the tortoise and the hare."
Will the Wii support custom soundtracks? This screenshot on the Darkzero site certainly suggests it.
Will Cartman get a Wii? The little South Park sparkplug was so anxious to get a Wii that he had himself frozen in last week's episode, with some unfortunate results. The conclusion can be seen this week, Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern time, and repeating at midnight Wednesday, 10 p.m. Thursday, 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday. If you missed last week's episode, you can search for it on YouTube or wait for it to show up on iTunes.
Today's news is all about new consoles and new games and old gamers. We do a little name-dropping (Clint Eastwood). Sony does a little drop in launch numbers. And Microsoft simply drops the ball. Did GameStop foil the console profiteers? And will a simple de-frag cause your numbers to go up? All of that and less is answered here.
Sony warns about phony PS3 scams? That's right. According to BusinessWeek, a number of websites have been promoting pre-orders on units without the cooperation of Sony. The company says to stay safe, buy only from authorized dealers, such as GameStop, EB, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
Did GameStop cancel preorders for games in Ebay auctions? In a word, no. But it shows just how crazy things are going to get in the run-up to the launch date for the PS3 and Wii consoles.
Xbox Live introduces 85 enhancements: Yesterday Xbox Live users were able to download a system update that gives them 85 new features and enhancements, including support for native 1080p games and movies, faster Xbox Live Arcade game list display times and even more choices when it comes to video playback options. The update requires no disc or hard drive. Read more here.
Mavs win E(B)A title: The NBA 2006-07 season is just beginning and they've already crowned the new champion: the Dallas Mavericks. At least, that's according to EA, creators of the NBA Live 07 video game. According to a story on the Canadian Broadcasting Company's website, the Mavs win in six games over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki is the MVP of the championship series. Losing in the conference finals are San Antonio and Miami. Last year's EA simulation correctly predicted Miami would advance to the NBA finals, but chose the Heat to lose to San Antonio.
Nintendo wins war of launch titles: Nintendo's Wii will start its life with 32 new launch titles, almost double the number that the Sony PlayStation 3 will have out before Christmas. The initial Wii titles will be: Call of Duty 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Rapala Tournament Fishing, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Madden NFL '07, Need for Speed: Carbon, Elebits, Happy Feet, Rampage: Total Destruction, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, The Ant Bully, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Metal Slug Anthology, Super Swing Golf, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Barnyard, Cars, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Creature from the Krusty Krab, Far Cry: Vengeance, GT Pro Series, Monster 4X4 World Circuit, Open Season, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Red Steel, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
Anime gypsies get help: Traveling to Anime Expo in Long Beach next June? Now you can get help traveling to a variety of anime conventions through the AX Travel Store. The store provides discounted airfares, hotels and auto rentals on trips to anime conventions. Surf here for details.
Green Green -- Nature Girls (Vol. 3): Midori has one final chance to make Yuusuke fall in love with her. She bets it all on one kiss, and Yuusuke's memory returns! They are finally together, but fate has decreed them unhappiness no matter what. As the guys prepare a special farewell party for the girl's class, violent thunderstorms shake the school. Influenced by his old memories, Yuusuke's personality changes completely. Ignoring his friends, he becomes blunt and decisive. He begins to wonder if the real Yuusuke is actually a good person. Midori has overcome fate to get this far, but Yuusuke's real personality maybe what finally sends her back to the future. Back to the future? I loved that first movie.
That poor company just can't catcha break. First the exploding battery recall, then all the bad press about the PS3 [a few negative words have even come from us] and now the DOJ is on their ass.
Damn Sony, sucks to be you right now.
Allow me to explain. See, the DOJ is doing an industry-wide investigation into sales of SRAM memory chips, which includes Sony's chips. See Sony claimed that they sold $27.7 million dollars worth of the ram chips, but didna say who made the chips for them, or who they sold them to. I assume [since I don't know much about big ass business] that there are a lot of things that companies don't disclose, so the news in and of itself is not a huge deal. But here's the thing: Sony's already had some problems with financials this year. All those batteries being recalled, the PS3 blue-ray laser issues, the inability to produce all the boxes originally promised for launch, the failure of the Connect music service... Sony can't really afford any more failures that result in them having to hemorrhage more money.
You can debate me if you like, but posting a $366 million dollar operating loss for the July-September quarter in the division you pin all your hopes on to bring in close to the lion share of profits for the company as a whole, being on the "tightrope of failing hope" is NOT where you want to be. Now, as I stated before, Sony is not the only company under investigation, and there may be absolutely nothing amiss with their ram production and sales, but in the precarious situation Sony's in right now, I'm sure they weren't too pleased to find out that the DOJ wanted to take a look through their books so-to-speak.
It does however, make the Do The Math article we wrote look a little less like speculation, and more like premonition. ;)
NinJaSistah in the spot to be on a fine, fine, football afternoon to share with you some news about the Wii. [Don't get all in a tizzy, I wrote this originally at 2 in the afternoon... Blogger was havin' issues again so just be glad I finally got this thing posted.]
In between beers [Guinness if you're curious] and football games [can't BELIEVE New Orleans lost to Baltimore, dammit Reggie, you're a receiver, not a QB!] I've spared a few moments to share with you some wonderful news I've heard about the Wii. Well, more directly, the Wii Nunchaku remote.
There seems to be a debate about the Wii Nunchaku [the little analog stick dongle for the Wiimote] having a rumble feature. There was a post on the Gaming Tengoku blog that linked to a quote from the NeoGAF forum about a quote from the British magazine EDGE. The forum post didn't link directly to the EDGE article, but I'll help them confront all the naysayers out there. Nintendo's own website SAYS the Wiimote has a rumble feature. This should not be any big news. It's good to know, since SIXAXIS won't have the feature, and makes me curious if the lack of force feedback will be a big noticable difference or not. Now, from the looks of all the attention that this got on Digg with people calling this wrong, inaccurate, and a rumor, I thought I would run with my very own flaming rumors and unconfirmed speculative thoughts through untraceable links and pure flights of fancy, in order to show people what actual bullshit looks like. Maybe that way, when the real info hits, it won't be mistaken for bullshit. Let's test it.
What is to follow is totally unconfirmed, in all liklyhood never going to happen and as such, should be regarded as incorrect, impossible, or as blatant lies for the sake of entertainment only.
Not to be outdone by Nintendo, Sony has decided to add in the ability for your PSP to operate your PS3 wirelessly, anywhere. Got to pee? No need to stop the gaming fun, bring your PSP along and you can continue playing your game as you "drop the kids off at the pool." Gotta go to work? Again, not an issue as Sony has you covered with their new PLAYONOYALP system, you can continue to play your PS3 games from your cubical computer, LP2 printer, or fax machine! Sony really means it when they say "Play B3yond!" I heard this over at the forums on the d00dI'mJokin.net website
Not to be left behind in the race for next-gen game console dominance, Microsoft and Take 2 Interactive in a joint partnership with Dairy Queen are going to create a new XBlive experience for the Gold level members. The new "Just Dip It!" program, not to be confused with Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, will reward XBLive Gold members that (1) pre-pay for 4 years of the XBLive service and (2) can teabag Jack Thompson in public with free small Blizzards, Single-Dipped cones, or Sundays each Friday during their tenure as an XBLive Gold member. Dive right in to the fun with XB360, Take2 Games, and Dairy Queen, and "Just Dip It!"
You see my friends, THAT is what you can list as being "inaccurate" or "unreliable." Something that is listed on a manufacturers website that you can find by Googling the words "wii controller+rumble" and get in the FIRST FREAKIN RESULT... not bullshit.
You all my now return to your previous gaming playing, anime watchin', and general geekin' out.
How much is that Wii in the window? Too much, if you're looking at the CompUSA website. As of 10:30 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 27, the store's website was displaying the price for the Wii as "$1,119.06." It also listed it as "Not Available." Here's the original link. Here's our cached version.
Think it's hard to get a PS3? Sony can't even get one! Sony's own Japanese e-commerce website has announced it will not be taking any orders for the company's consoles. Read more here.
Microsoft, Nintendo up, Sony way down: In company earnings reports released this week, Microsoft and Nintendo profits were up significantly from the same quarter last year, while Sony profits were way down -- 94 percent lower. Both results were attributable in part to the companys' performances in their video games divisions. Sales of the Xbox 360 video-game console boosted revenues in the entertainment and devices division by 70 percent to over $1 billion, as compared to a year ago, according to a story on the newratings.com website. Sony, on the other hand, had said that its battery recall would cut earnings for its fiscal second quarter by about $430 million. Sony's net profit in the quarter plunged 94 percent to a mere $14.4 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sony also was hit particularly hard by an operating loss of about $90 million in its videogame division. In the catbird seat is Nintendo, which reported sales of $2.5 billion, up 69 percent from a year earlier. Net income was $458.6 million, up from a loss a year ago, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.
Well I remember... Veteran rock star Phil Collins is impressed with the way he is portrayed in the latest Grand Theft Auto game -- and a little bit embarrassed. "They have got it spot on," he said in a story at the contactmusic.com website. "The five o'clock shadow, the suits and all the other stuff that was so embarrassingly prevalent in my '80s wardrobe."
Guitar Hero unplugged: Guitar Hero fans will be able to shred with a wireless controller, thanks to a unit coming directly from Activision subsidiary RedOctane. Displaying a new glossy white finish, the $59.99 wireless guitar controller contains the same features as the wired Guitar Hero SG controller. The really boring press release is here.
Miyazaki's Unmoving Museum: "With spiral staircases, catwalks stretching out above, and doors that are only three feet high, the place has a dream-like quality." That's how the Gridskipper website describes the Ghibli Museum, the world's largest repository of the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Located about a 45-minute train ride from Tokyo, the museum contains replicas of Miyazaki's movie characters and the theater shows shorts you can't see anywhere else.
Should you wait on a PS3? Sony says so! The following doesn't come from a fanboy site -- it comes from the New York Times, who spoke to Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's chief financial officer: "Mr. Oneda said he expects the company to mark down PlayStation 3 prices in 2007 once the supply problems are solved." See? Even Sony thinks the PS3 is priced too high.
Midway shoots wrestling fans: If you were at a pro wrestling match in Orlando Monday night, you might be immortalized in an upcoming video game. The staff of Midway Games filmed crowd footage and recorded noise and chants for the upcoming debut Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling video game. According to PWInsider.com, "The level of detail (in the game) was said to be so precise you could see a scar on (wrestler A.J.) Styles' lip that he suffered from a Samoa Joe bout."
Philips' amBX immerses you in game: Know how Philips' Ambilight washes the wall behind the TV screen in a light whose color is complimentary to what's currently on the screen? Now imagine that along with sattelite lights, sounds, wind and rumble features for your keyboard and your wrist. It's called amBX and is due out early next year for PC games. To get everything will set you back $399 and requires games that are specifically coded for amBX to get the full effect, but if it catches on, it's gonna be hot. Ryan Kim of the San Francisco Chronicle played around with it a little and says, "It makes games seem a little more cinematic and full. And when done right, a software developer can use the lights to help cue players as to where to go by lighting up one light."
Kids bored with prom come up with anime theme: The teen services director of the Tecumseh District Library in Michigan was listening to kids in the library's anime club talking about the prom. "They didn't know if they were going," she said, "because it's the same all the time." That gave her the bright idea of incorporating an anime theme in a prom party. According to the story in the Tecumseh, Mich., Herald: "Attendees were encouraged to come dressed as their favorite anime character.... Regular prom traditions were preserved, including the crowning of a king and queen. In a wry spoof on the royalty ritual, the crowns were cardboard and came from Burger King."
Trinity Blood: Chapter 1: In the distant future after the destruction brought about by Armageddon, the war between the vampires and the humans continue to persist. In order to protect the humans from the vampires, Vatican has to rely on other allies to counter the situation. The protagonist, a priest called Peter Abel Nightroad, travels through the countries as a representative for the Vaticans. However, he is also part of "Ax", a special operations group controlled by the Cardinal Catherina. His encounter with a young girl called Esther will determine the struggle and survival between the human race and the vampires. So there.
WoW expansion pack misses holiday selling season: Testing on the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion pack got started only this month, and as a result the package won't be available for sale until after the first of the year. According to an Associated Press story, "Gamers will instead have to wait until January to plumb the depths of Outland in The Burning Crusade..."
It's 3-for-2 time at Toys"R"Us: Through Saturday Oct. 28 at Toys"R"Us, buy two in-stock video games, get the third one free! Here are the weasel words: Free video game must be of equal or lesser value to the lowest priced item purchased. Limited quantities available. Sorry, no rain checks. Here are the online promotion rules.
Some gamers putting warp drive in reverse: In an age where a new video game system is close to breaking the $600 mark, some gamers are reliving the good ol' days, buying old game machines in pawn shops for a $20 bill and buying old games for a five-spot. "Maybe it's because they grew up on them," Jim McCauley, owner of JimmyJams Comics and Games in Winona, Minn., told the Winona Daily News. "A lot of college-age guys look at all the new games, but also the old Nintendo games. I see a lot of that. There's a lot of nostalgia going on." The big sellers? Games with Mario and Luigi. One customer says, "They're chick magnets."
Is the Sony Portable Reader squint-worthy? That's the question answered by Tony Salvaggio for Comic Book Resources in his review of the new portable device. Specifically, Salvaggio checked out the Reader for its ability to display manga titles. "Tokyopop has committed to releasing a collection of their Global Manga lineup for release at the launch of the Sony Reader (in fact, an excerpt of 'Peach Fuzz' should come pre-loaded with the Reader)," Salvaggio writes, "and I was able to take a sneak peak at the results."
Tactics, Vol. 2: Supernatural detective Kantaro Ichinomiya and his band of monsters and demons are back! This time, the team travels to Bride Island, Suzuku Temple and Asakusa in search of adventures, monsters and interesting journal articles. Sounds... like... fun.
The gamers best buddy and pal Sony has effectively put the best place on the web for getting your grubby little hands on imports Lik-Sang.
Sony says, it's for our own good. The British don't need Japanese PSP's or video games that will never be ported to England for the English, so places like Lik-Sang don't need to exist, right?
Wrong. Here's why. Sony pushed back the roll out of it's PS3 system in Europe to 07. [March of if'n I remember correctly] so the only way for many people in Europe to get there hands on the system before then would be to grab an import from someplace like Lik-Sang... which had already taken pre-orders for the PS3 before the Gamestop shenanigans. Yeah, you heard me, I said shenanigans! Hundred non-refundable bucks for a pre-order that won't even put a box in my hand launch day deserves no other name. But it's not just PS3, but our European sister and brother gamers were also getting boned on the price of their console and hand held systems. As much as I bitch and moan about the price of the high end PS3 box here in the states, that 599 euro box in Europe would run you nearly 752.12 USD. I shall cease my bitching for a bit on that one. OUCHIES!
But why now, and what really is the deal? Well Sony claims it filled the lawsuit against Lik-Sang arguing economic harm to itself and dishonest selling tactics. Now, I'm not sure exactly what "economic harm" defenseless lil Lik-Sang had [they didn't even have representation during the hearings, poor lil guys...] but I'm not sure how you can claim dishonesty. There was an adapter that was listed on the Lik-Sang site that was supposed to be auto-sensing as far as power wattage went, and I haven't been able to tell if that product was bunk or not, but still... there are a lot of sites that list a lot of products that don't actually do all of what they promise.Oh, by the way, isn't this "dishonest selling tactics" the pot calling the kettle black coming from Sony? Didn't they make that next-gen console comparison sheet that in all "honesty" to label as "bullshit" a fair statement? Now look, I never actually bought anything through Lik-Sang. Not because I felt they couldn't be trusted, or were overpriced, but because I personally didn't have much want or need for an import game or gaming system. However, I always thought it was a good idea to have a source like Lik-Sang out there for the people who did not have as many options or choices as I've had here in the US. There are a bunch of games each year that ship in Japan and in the US and Canada, but never make the distribution cut for Europe. I didn't like that idea, but at least places like Lik-Sang helped level the playing field for gamers in Europe. I liked that. I'm almost 100 percent sure that this maneuver by Sony had less to do with protecting the "hordes" of folks clamoring for the PSP in Europe and more to do with the [eventual] roll out of the PS3 in Europe.
I do feel for you poor bastards in Europe, not even having a shot at a PS3 until waaaaay into 2007. You gotta wait until after us Americans and Japanese have all our fun before you can even think about joining the party.
Y'all have been fucked, and I do mean proper fucked, by Sony. The only difference between us and you, is that Sony took us out to dinner first.
U.S. Army bears gifts to gamers: A U.S. defense contractor and the U.S. Army are teaming up to offer a free videogame that helps demonstrate warfare of the future. F2C2 is described as a real-time tactical strategy game that lets player learn about the Army's Future Combat Systems program by assuming command of a Mounted Company Team in the year 2015. Through game play, F2C2 showcases how FCS can provide the 21st century soldier unprecedented situational awareness, and the ability to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively. F2C2 can be downloaded for free on the U.S. Army's public Web site.
Sony reassures PS3 owners about controllers: Sony faced another public relations nightmare when it was discovered that the new Sixaxis wireless controller for the PS3 didn't allow users to change batteries, making the entire controller useless when the rechargeable batteries finally died for good. Once the word got out, Sony was quick to say that any controllers that died could be exchanged for a new one. GamesIndustry.biz quotes a Sony representative: "The latest generation of Lithium Polymer batteries hardly suffer any memory effect at all, so it'll be many years before there's any degradation in terms of battery performance. When and if this happens, then of course we will be providing a service to exchange these items."
Microsoft to save Halo movie? That's the word according to Variety. When it looked like the movie was going to exceed the $135 million pricetag, Universal Studios and Twentieth Century Fox pulled out of the project. Ken Kamins, who represents executive producer Peter Jackson, said Microsoft is already in talks with other distribution partners.
Anime character used to provide Japanese goodwill in Iraq: A truck rolls up in the scorching midsummer heat of Iraq emblazoned with the image of Captain Tsubasa, from the anime series of the same name. "I figured if we had a picture of Tsubasa on the side of the water supply trucks Japan had provided, maybe people would understand that the anime was actually from Japan," Yasuyuki Ebata, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official, told the Daily Yomiuri newspaper. The Iraqi-language version of the anime is aired in Iraq as "Captain Majed."
Wars and Rumors of Wars: Two years after the war Between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, conflicts between the two nations heat up again in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Vol. 5. Shin Asuka, the new Main Character's eyes are full of sorrow as his family was killed in Orb during the war. Meanwhile, Athrun is torn between protecting Cagalli in Orb and doing something about the war. With new moble suits being developed by ZAFT and the abduction of three new modles by 3 Earth Alliance Pilots, the new story begins. If you understand all of that, then you really need this one.
Want a Wii or PS3 before Christmas? Forget about it: "This is going to be the mother of all shortages," said Larry Haverty, associate portfolio manager of Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust. He and others have told Reuters that purchasing this year's new consoles at the regular retail price before Christmas might be impossible.
The 10,000 most important gamers in the world: Are you part of the Nielsen 10,000? If you are, you're one of the most important gamers in the world. Nielsen, the folks who measure TV viewership, will be measuring videogame usage in its Nielsen GamePlay Metrics. Some 10,000 gamers have been chosen to represent the worldwide audience of videogame fans. "We are not targeting homes of gamers specifically," said Jeff Hermann, VP of Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services. "The panel represents the media consumption habits of the US consumer. Since the panel is statistically representative of all U.S. consumers, the gaming population is a subset of the overall panel and statistically projectable to represent game title and duration of play of the entire gaming population."
Noise of "The Lamb": Tokyopop's animated production of its long-running manga series "Lament of the Lamb" will be spotlighted at the 2006 Tokyo International Film Festival next week. Described in Tokyopop's press release as "a gut-wrenching horror story of a young man who shockingly discovers he may be the last in a bloodline of vampires," the manga version was created by Kei Toume and originally published in Japan by Gentosha. While TOKYOPOP'S popular manga properties, "Priest" and "Pet Shop of Horrors", have been recently acquired for film adaptation by Sony Screen Gems and Focus Features, respectively, "Lament of the Lamb" signals the company's first move into theatrical feature film production.
Why I don't live in Alabama anymore: James Wilson and Lance Borchert, both of Athens, Ala., were playing their favorite teams in a Playstation college football game Sept. 30 -- a game that became a little too serious. With Borchert's Tennessee team leading Wilson's Auburn team, Wilson became upset when Borchert quit the game and went to bed. Wilson, Borchert's wife's cousin, allegedly entered the Borchert's bedroom and stabbed Borchert in the back with a butcher knife. Although the knife punctured Borchert's lung, it did not kill him. Wilson ran from the Borchert home into the nearby woods and was tracked down by dogs from the Limestone Correctional Facility.
Exploding Skyscrapers? Don't Blame Godzilla: The city is in the grip of a crazed bomber in Case Closed: The Time Bombed Skyscraper - The Movie and nobody is safe as a crushing wave of terror washes over the innocent citizens. Planes, trains and massive towers all threaten to light up the night sky -- the sick whims of a brutal lunatic played out in sudden balls of fire. Conan Edogawa finds himself in a desperate race against the clock, an explosive game of cat and mouse with a deviant madman, and every second counts. Can he unravel the maniacal malcontent's scheme before the next timer reaches zero? Awww, probably, but you should check it out anyway.
Microserf: Uh, Mr. Gates, there's a problem with the new Zune. Bill Gates: A problem? Is it that damn brown color? Microserf: No, it's not that, sir. It's... it's... it's the name. Bill Gates: The name? What's wrong with the name? Microserf: Well, uh, in Hebrew it means... it means... Bill Gates: Spit it out, boy. It couldn't be that bad. Microserf: It means FUCK! Bill Gates: FUCK? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
HERE'S A FEATURE NOBODY ASKED FOR Last week, Sony introduced a new Walkman MP3 player to compete with Apple's iPod. The big, new, iPod-killing feature of this one? The ability to upload music directly from a compact-disc player. Think about this for a moment: Most CD players run at 1X speed, meaning a 45-minute-long CD will take exactly 45 minutes to upload the songs to the player. If you let the batteries run dry, you'll have to upload the whole thing again.
And, as NinjaSistah asked when I told her about it, who owns CD's anymore?
RUMORS: Sony's not worried about the PS3 overheating, right? Then why are they installing an extra cooling fan in their store kiosks? Read about it here.
Speaking of kiosks, Wii and PS3 kiosks are already winging their way to Best Buy, Wal-Mart, GameStop and EBGames stores. Call your favorite store to see if it has already arrived. More...
Don't play the Wii in direct sunlight. That's the word of a blogger on the Nintendo Gal website: "That's right, if you have the sun beaming right onto the sensor bar, it doesn't work." More...
QUOTES: "For this Christmas I think the price for what it specifically does as a video games machine [it] is a bit pricey..." -- Sony Computer Entertainment Australia Managing Director Michael Ephraim, talking about the Wii's price. From Australia's Age newspaper.
"E3 is not a place where product is sold anymore. The industry is recognized as a big part of mainstream culture, so the need for a big glittering event to validate the industry is not what it used to be," he said. "What is needed ... is to focus on the fact that E3 is much more about media-related opportunities. The question is what is the most efficient way to create those opportunities." -- Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade association that owns E3.From SFGate.com
"When building a house, traditional Japanese builders start with the tiniest detail and gradually expand from there. Western builders are the opposite. They start with the picture of a whole and add details to it. When Westerners look at old Japanese buildings, they often wonder how the builders drew the blueprint for such a complex shape. But the secret is that there never was a blueprint. It is this fundamental difference in approach that makes Japanese buildings fascinating to their eyes. The same thing can be said about animation. The way we create large images for movies is similar to that traditional architectural method. I think that explains the appeal Japanese animation can have, particularly in the western world." -- Toshio Suzuki, president of Japan's Studio Ghibli. From the Wall Street Journal
Naruto, Vol. 5 - Shinobi Weapons: As I was saying yesterday, join three young ninjas -- Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno -- as they continue their training. Sort of like Pokemon without all the dang cards, eh? Get the thing here.
Sure, I'm a little behind, but I HAD to go to the damn hockey game. I do more than just game you know. [I also love football, and professional boxing. I am what you many would refer to as a "down ass chick"] But this little tid-bit of info did not escape my radar.
So the PS3 controller known as "SIXAXIS" has a flaw. Imagine that, some part of the PS3 has some kind of flaw. While most of the sites that have been writing about the controller specs, they haven't really focused on just how much of a problem this flaw presents.
So here's the deal on the Bluetooth controller. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery built in, as in the rechargeable battery can not come out of the controller. Now while the battery is rechargeable, to fully charge it through your PS3 via USB will take about 2 hours. Once the battery is charged it should get about 30 hours of use before requiring a recharge. Not bad performance if it's true, but the estimated battery life number have never been all that universal. I know you are saying, "sounds ok to me, where da prob Bob?" The "prob" is that anyone that has ever used a device that has a lithium ion battery knows that over time and usage, lithium ion batteries decay and die. With each recharge, a little less of the battery can actually recharge and soon, your battery will shuffle off it's mortal coil and move on to battery heaven... and since this battery is hard wired into your remote, it means that your remote is a paperweight in waiting. [hehe, I crack myself up sometimes]
Maybe we should have a "how fast can you turn your PS3 controller into a paperweight" sweepstakes here at ESH. I figure a year of Final Fantasy and Socom playing ought to do it. I mean, not for nothing but at least you have the option of rechargeable battery PACKS with the XB360, or regular battery powered battery packs... if a pack dies, you just replace the battery pack which is cheaper than buying a new controller.
Pay for the potential folks... through the nose. Fuck you Sony for making me sound like an Xbox fangirl. No lube either.
Vote early, vote often: November's issue of Playboy magazine features the winners of the 2006 Women of Video Games contest, so it's too late to vote. But you can still catch a glimpse of the contestants here. There's also a link to the Amp'd Mobile sweepstakes to win the ability to play video games in the Playboy mansion's game room with two Playmates.
Vaio Con Dios: Sony laptop owners became the latest victims of the Sony computer battery scandal as the company recalled 90,000 batteries from Vaio laptops sold in Japan and Korea, with news about the recall of U.S. batteries still to be announced. Here's the latest tally, as of Oct. 17:
Nintendo making life easier for programmers: If the early users are right, the Nintendo Wii Remote is a hit. And now Nintendo and AiLive are making it easier for programmers to incorporate the remote in their games. Using a new artificial intelligence product called LiveMove, developers no longer have to hand-code remote movements into their games. Instead, the developers can directly train the remote by example. "LiveMove will allow the game industry to move away from indirect digital control to more natural analog control for the first time," said Dr. Wei Yen, chairman of AiLive.
Anime Network reach grows: If you get your cable TV from RCN, Insight or Cogeco Cable, you're could start getting Anime Network. The company announced the new carriage deals Monday for its popular subscription-based video-on-demand service. "Anime has a very passionate following and is exactly the kind of on demand content we believe will be successful and will attract new viewers," said Melani Griffith, vice president of programming at Insight.
New Manga creates Trekkie Otaku wet dream: It's the Starship Enterprise against Gundam-style mobile suits in "Star Trek: Shinsei Shinsei," the first Manga version of Star Trek officially sanctioned by Paramount. No need to know more about it. Here's how to get it.
E! True Hollywood Story: G4 In a move that many bloggers are calling the beginning of the end of G4, Comcast announced that G4 is getting new supervision from Ted Harbert, who has been the guiding force of Comcast's E! Entertainment Television and Style Network for the past two years. "I am delighted to have this rare opportunity to lead a female, male and broad appeal business," Harbert was quoted in a Comcast press release, "and I am sure it will be an exciting challenge. In addition to collaborating with my talented executive teams at E! and Style, I look forward to working with Neal [Tiles, G4 president] and the G4 team as we build on the success they have achieved to date."
Sony admitting financial problems? Sony announced this morning that it is considering whether it needs to make revisions to its earning forecasts for the current fiscal year, fueling speculation that the company might be forced to cut its profit projections. This news comes less than 24 hours after three Japanese computer makers announced they may seek additional compensation from Sony over the recall of defective batteries. Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu recently recalled a combined total of 1.1 million batteries made by Sony. Each of the companies have indicated they may seek compensation if the recall causes damage to their brand image.
The other Miyazaki: The biggest animated hit of the summer in Japan was Miyazaki's Gedo Senki (or Tales from Earthsea). What? You never heard of Tales from Earthsea? It's from Miyazaki, all right, the other Miyazaki -- Goro Miyazaki, Hayao's son. Not everyone likes it, though. According to Ursula K. Le Guin, author of the "Earthsea" novels on which the movie is based, Goro took too many liberties with the story. "Of course a movie shouldn't try to follow a novel exactly -- they're different arts, very different forms of narrative," she wrote on her website. "There may have to be massive changes. But it is reasonable to expect some fidelity to the characters and general story in a film named for and said to be based on books that have been in print for 40 years." Check out the whole story on the New York Times website.
Naruto, Vol. 4 - The Broken Seal: Join three young ninjas -- Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno -- as they continue their training. Everything Friends should have been and more, eh? Buy it or you'll hate yourself.
Florida judge OK's Bully: Although he doesn't want his kids playing it, Ronald Friedman, a circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County, Fla., said it is not violent enough to ban it. "There's a lot of violence," Judge Ronald Friedman said in court Friday, according to a story in the Miami Herald. "A whole lot. Less than we see on television every night." Friedman didn't offer a ruling, saying he would consider the matter further if Coral Gables attorney Jack Thompson wanted to schedule a hearing after the game is released. Thompson, who brought the complaint, said he doesn't plan to revisit the issue.
More Sony batteries recalled: Sony reports no reports of additional battery accidents, but another 79,000 of the company's batteries were recalled on Friday. Sharp Corp. said it was recalling 28,000 batteries made by Sony and Fujitsu said it was recalling an additional 51,000 battereis, bringing the total number of computer batteries recalled to more than 7.7 million. Here are the current recall numbers, as of Sunday, Oct. 15:
More Tenchi: In Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki: Final Confrontations, it's the aftermath of Tenchi's battle with Z, and events are once again proceeding as they should. With normal life back on track, Tenchi's father and grandfather decide the time is right to tell him the truth about his mother's death. One thing in certain - on this day, the answers to all of Tenchi's burning questions will be revealed. Final volume comes packaged in collectible tin. Get it all right here.
Back from New York, with a few tidbits to share with you.
First off, I found some details on the net about the PS3's online capabilities. You may already know about this stuff, but I did not, and was pleased [finally] to see all of this stuff.
So here's the list of stuffs:
Multiple User Profiles
Web 2.0 Compliant Web Browser
The majority of the online experience is free!
Now lets examine these talking points.
Multiple User Profiles For anyone that will be sharing a system [like a frat/sorority house, roommates, family homes, this is going to come in handy. The PS3 will support multiple user profiles on the system [saved to the hard drive] so each individual user can sign in to their profile and have their account settings and preferences on hand. No worries about saving stuff over on other people's profiles by accident here. Oh joy!
Master Accounts Tied in with the multiple user accounts above, you will be able to set a master account on the PS3 when you get it. Think of the master account as root [geeksters only] the master account gets to set boundaries and admin all sub or associated accounts. This will be a big help to parents as they can set themselves up as the Master Account and allow their kids to setup associated accounts. With their Master Account, parents can limit the amount of time an associated account can spend in the Online Store, or even online I would imagine. This may be a big selling point on the PS3 for families in this day and age of shielding the chillrens from the world and whatnot.
Web 2.0 Compliant Browser This was an interested one to see, a full blown web browser. No crippled browsing capabilities here folks, which is long over due I think. Read your GMail, check out what's going on here at ESH, watch some viral videos, it's all here. I think this feature will prove to be invaluable if Bluetooth keyboards can be used easily with the system. Give me a box that I can game on and take time out to check my email, Myspace, and update this site all at the same time, and I'll be spending a LOT of time in front of the tube on the regular. - and finally, my fav -
The Majority of the Online Experience is Free! Yes, I'm not stuttering... it's free... well most of it is, anyway. All of the online services [which include voice/video chat and normal multiplayer gaming] are free once you sign up. The only things you have to fork over some dollahs are when you decided to buy items from the Playstation Store, downloadable content crap or subscriptions to MMO games, which, I think is fair.
Now, there's a lot more going on in the article I read that mentioned these nuggets of info from, but I found these things to be the most interesting to me because if implemented well these elements will make the PS3 box a strong entertainment box. What? Surprised I said that? You shouldn't be, I'm a gamer first and foremost... so any news on tech implementations that will make my experience as a gamer more enjoyable or easy to manage will get my positive attention. My objections or negative opinions of the PS3 box have always been on Sony's attitude towards the consumer, the price point, and lack of forethought on the launch. I think once the lasers are fixed and working properly, box production is up, development for the box becomes a little easier for game developers, and the price comes down a bit, that the PS3 will be a strong gaming box... just not before then.
Seeing these few facts about the online aspect of the box gives me hope that at least some forethought and conversation about making the gaming experience better for gamers has been going on at Sony in some marginal way. It doesn't wipe out all the previous condescending comments, or superiority complex things that Sony has been inflicting on the gaming community of late, but it's a step toward mending that bridge.
I try not to take up "girl gamer issues" while writing for the site, but I've been asked this question so often that broke down and put this together.
Most of my guy friends are gamers, and ask me how they can convert their girlfriend into a gamer. It has always been my belief that all girls are gamers, it's just finding the right game for the right girl. At the same time, I get asked in conversation by my girl gamer friends how they should break it to the guy they are dating/boyfriend that they are a gamer. I am not "Dear Abbey" or [belch] "Dr. Laura" but I offer this as help.
No. 5: Accessory Love Wear some game related article of clothing or jewelry accessory. Some 1up mushroom earrings, or a t-shirt featuring some well known game character that you like When he notices it, he'll probably mention how cool your earrings/shirt/whatever is and why he thinks it's cool. This is your opening to share your knowledge of games and start the "I've been playing video games since..." conversation.
No. 4: Technology To The Rescue It might seem simple but let your tech speak for you if you [for whatever reason] don't know how or when to start this conversation. Got a computer? Set your desktop wallpaper background to one from a video game you love playing. There are plenty of game wallpaper resources out there. You can visit the official websites of video games and check out their downloads or media sections for wallpapers, Google image searches, they all work. Or, you can change your ringtone to some well known tune from a video game. Many cell phones today can play MP3's as ringtones, so get you a transfer cable [if neither your computer nor phone have Bluetooth] and slap one of these tunes on your phone. I find it's a definite attention getter, and you'd be amazed how many other gamers you'll "out" using this technique. In any case, either of these things will help get the "I enjoy video games" idea passed on to your man.
No. 3: Magazine Oppsies Now I have one friend that was terrified that the guy she had been seeing for a couple of months was going to ditch her when he found out she was a gamer. I don't know why but she was absolutely positive he was going to think she was some kind of masculine chick hiding in a petite girl body. I know, it's stupid, but as she went on and on about how she was hiding her game systems before he came over, I realized it was a serious fear in her mind, so I had to help. I told her instead hiding all of her OPM and Computer Gaming magazines, leave a couple out on the coffee table. When the boyfriend comes over, let him in and offer him a seat on the couch by the mags, then excuse yourself to the bathroom to finish getting ready and leave him there with nothing but the gaming mags to keep him entertained while you are away. When asks when you got into gaming [because he's never seen this stuff before] just be honest. Say you've been into gaming for a while and why, and then just say that you put all that stuff away because you didn't want him to think you were weird. I'll all but guaranty that 10 times out of 10 he'll be excited and cool about it.
No. 2: Don't Hide Your Systems. The same friend from suggestion number 3 was also hiding her game systems every time the dude came over to pick her up. I told her she needed to stop that shit... pulling all those cables out and putting them back a few times a week had to have been a huge PITA. Leave them out. Duh, he'll get the clue. [I told you he would Jenn ;)]
And finally, No. 1: Just Tell Him You're A Gamer. I know it seems over simplistic, but admitting that you are a gamer is not like owning up to a case of herpes... no one's going to start running for the hills because you like Halo2, and if they do they're an asshole plain and simple. Being a girl an enjoying video games doesn't make you any less feminine, attractive, smart, or anything. It's nothing to be ashamed of, or hide. I'm really tired of having to play 20 questions with women that I meet to find out if they are a gamer. Most of the ones I ask directly if they like video games go all the way round the bush, "Oh, I guess they are ok... I don't really have time to play them... My brother has a system and makes me play with him." But once I get to know them, find out that they are as into gaming as I am and I get a little pissed. I think about all the time we missed out on playing together, sharing game tips, raggin' on Sony and their fanboys, and all because of some stupid presumed stigma of being a girl gamer. Get over it already. A lot of other girl gamers have. There are more and more girl gamer clans out there that actually have some hard core gamers in their clan... if they can be proud to be gamers that happen to be girls, so should you.
As I said, I usually stay away from this kind of topic because I hate being in a position to enable these kinds of feelings in other girl gamers. That being said, I'm also getting tired of the look of astonishment on guy gamers when I tell them I'm a gamer. First I get the look, then I get the "you probably play stuff like Nintendogs and The Sims [which I do] but I also play God of War, Devil May Cry, Amplitude, BloodRayne, Dynasty Warriors, and Zone of The Enders. After that list, the next thing that happens is I get a little respect out of them, and then they want to know how to get their girlfriend into gaming. I say ask your girlfriend if she likes video games. Whenever you are dating with people, especially if you are just starting out, you have that conversation where you talk about all the stuff you like and don't and crap. Bring this up then. "I dig playing video games with people, how about you?" It's short, sweet, and to the point. Here's the hard part: listen closely to the answer. If you get the, "My brother makes me play with him, I think they are cool, but I don't really play all that often" lines just follow up with a, "Would you like to play with me sometime?" Put the ball in her court and don't push. Let her decided if this is an activity that she wants to share with you or not. If she says sure, ask her what kind of game she likes or thinks she would like, don't just make her play something that you have because you're the bomb at it. [She'll think your a controlling douchebag]
And that's that. I've done my good deed for the day in trying to help folks out on both sides of this thing, so no more complaining.
Even if you miss it, you probably won't miss it: With an estimated 2 million Wii consoles available for sale on Day 1, do you even need to preorder one? In any case, the Nintendo Gal blog reports that GameStop and EBGames stores will start taking preorders on Friday (Oct. 13) for a $25-50 downpayment. Want to stand in line? At least you might be able to talk to some other avid gamers.
When will Sony's business be profitable again?In a Wall Street Journal story, Fitch Ratings has announced that it expects Sony's financial performance to continue to weaken in the next year or two and that it could incur losses in the videogame business for up to five years. Fitch cites Sony's heavy investment in new technologies, tough competition and the current computer battery scandal. In the last fiscal year, Sony's consolidated debt was $37.13 billion.
The Reverse Hipness of Steve Ballmer: How out-of-it is Steve Ballmer, the head honcho at Microsoft? It's easy to judge by his quote to BusinessWeek magazine regarding the wireless capabilities of his company's forthcoming Zune media player: "I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That's a software experience." Squirt? I can't imagine Steve Jobs of Apple telling anyone he wants to "squirt" something to them.
Bottom of the Third, Tenchi Up to Bat It's the end of the third Tenchi OVA as Mihoshi’s brother has come to Earth to pursue a deadly mission. Everything seems under control until warrior Z storms in to kill Tenchi and claim his place as the ruler of the universe! Can Tenchi’s Light Hawk Wings save the day? Only one way to find out.
Newsfree Fridays: No Daily News on Friday. Instead, look for the latest installment of my Robot's Letters to God. This month I'm featuring The Forgotten Robots.
In today's news: -- Nintendo's heading back to the top -- Live a little behind the videogame counter -- There's lots of rumbling, but not from the Sony camp -- A new Ghost volume is crawling out of its Shell
Will Nintendo Win the Next Gen Wars? It's been generally accepted that Microsoft will win the next-generation console wars for 2006, selling about 10 million by years' end, compared with about 4 million sold by Nintendo and fewer than 2 million sold by Sony. But according to UBS analysts Alex Gauna and Steven Chin, Nintendo will have as many as 9 million Wii consoles available for sale before the end of 2006, which could vault Nintendo to the top of the next gen heap this year.
Life Behind the Counter: I always hate going into record stores. The people who work there always act like they're the rock stars. Videogame stores always seemed a little different, though. And now you can find out why in the DayintheLifeofVideogames blog. One of the site's bloggers, Postman, describes a fight in the store that spilled out into the street: "It was over pretty quick, and the leader came back to grab his CD's that fell, and apologized for what happened. I watched as they left, and here's the kicker -- they all get in the same car and drive away together!" Perhaps Kevin Smith is already checking out the site and taking notes for Clerks III.
Let's Get Ready to TILT!: To rumble or not to rumble -- that's the big question about Sony's PlayStation 3 controllers. Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai is quoted as saying, "If we have to come up with technology... to isolate the vibration from the sensing, but if that means that the controllers are going to be so expensive, then we're doing the consumer a huge disservice by coming up with a controller that is not very affordable." Meanwhile, Victor Veigas of Immersion Corporation, the company that holds the patent on the rumble technology, insists, "I'm ready to meet with them and try to work out this issue because at the end of the day it's the gamer that really seems to be suffering."
In today's issue, influence Microsoft with your smooth prose, discover the similarity between Sony's PS3 wireless controller and Nazi Germany, revisit the Old School and try to decide why today's stuff just isn't as fun as it used to be.
Want to Affect What Happens At Microsoft? Blog About It: Former Microsoft employee Robert Scoble told CIO Insight of the company's unscientific approach to feeling out its customers: "We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it, or I could participate in their comments, or send them an e-mail saying, 'What's going on?' And that told those people that someone was listening to their rants, that this is a different world than the one in which no one listens. It was an invaluable focus group that Microsoft didn't have to pay for."
The Sixaxis of Evil: During World War II, the troika of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan was called the "Axis Powers." In his 2002 State of the Union address, President G.W. Bush said North Korea, Iran and Iraq "constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." So it's no wonder that Sony, with all its ultra-intelligent decisions thus far this year, would finally give a name to its new wireless controller for the PlayStation 3: The Sixaxis. The folks at Sony must be hoping it will take over the world.
Old School Will Be Represented Well on the Wii: Several games defunct gamemaker Epyx made for the Commodore 64 will be emulated on the Nintendo Wii, according to Nintendo Power magazine. Initial titles include Impossible Mission, California Games, The Last Ninja, Gottlieb Pinball Classics, Super Fruit Fall, Puzzle Ball, Leaderboard and Tennis Masters.
Star Fox Command Comes to the Nintendo DS: Originally released as an SNES title in 1993, the Star Fox series has gone through several iterations. In a review of the newest version, Slashdot reviewer Zonk says, "[Star Fox] Command offers some simple strategy elements, an innovative control scheme, and the tried and true dogfighting gameplay the series is known for. It also dwells on one of the series' weaknesses, plot, to the detriment of the game."
Like Episodic Gaming? You're Going to See More: Valve Software, creators of the Half-Life saga, says it's going to distribute upcoming chapters in shorter, more frequent episodes. "Steam gives us a real time connection with our customers," Gabe Newell, Valve's founder and managing director, told CNNMoney.com. "Rather than guessing how people are playing our game, we can watch and see them navigate through the game. We can see them get stuck at various points and say 'oh, that's not what we designed' and work to correct that (in our next installment)." Newell revealed that a regular character would be killed in Half-Life 2, to be released in the first quarter of 2007.
The Burger King of Games: Starting in November, Burger King will offer three restaurant-related Xbox 360 games for $3.99 with the purchase of a value meal. The three games are "Big Bumpin'," "PocketBike Racer" and "Sneak King," which will feature the restaurant company's iconic King character. The Wall Street Journal asked Burger King marketing head Russ Klein why videogames. Klein answered, "We know that the eyeballs in the increasingly fractured media world are harder to get, and gaming is one of the places they are going." Fractured eyeballs? Now that's a video game.
Hitachi Recalls Sony Batteries Hitachi became the sixth computer manufacturer to recall Sony batteries in the company's ever-growing battery scandal. Hitachi said it would recall 16,000 batteries in two different models of laptops. In a statement printed in the Wall Street Journal, Hitachi said it is undertaking the recall "for its customers' peace of mind." Here are the current recall numbers, as of Friday, Oct. 6:
Popular XBox 360 Title to Launch PS3: Bethesda Softworks' blockbuster role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will be a launch title for the PlayStation 3 this November in North America, and next March in Europe when the new console is expected to be released there. In addition, The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion will be released on the PlayStation Portable in Spring 2007 in North America and Europe. The highly regarded game was initially released on the XBox 360 in March.
Alchemy? You Don't Want My Opinion on That: Just released, Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie: The Conqueror of Shamballa focuses on two boys who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and now we're all paying for it. Go ahead -- buy a copy. See if I care.
That's what a Gamestop manager revealed to Ben Kuchera over at Opposable Thumbs there at the arstechnica website. And by the way, "Opposable Thumbs" is an awesomely clever name for a blog... wish I had come up with that one. But I digress...
Again, having some time to bop around ye olde interweb to catch up on all the news that's out there in between working for the day job, and I came across this article on the arstechnica website. The people that Kuchera talked with paint a very bleak PS3 roll out next month that's for sure. I know it seems like I'm picking on Sony yet again, but I swear I'm not. It's just every time I hit up my regular game sites for news, most of the Sony stuff gives me pause. I don't have to make Sony out to be a bad guy or create a scenario to make them seem like they are out of step with the rest of the next-gen console makers, they do that all on their own on what seems like a daily basis.
From the arstechnica article what sticks out to me at least is this continuing theme of Sony seeming to be less prepared for what is coming than it's competitors. While Nintendo comes across as having a well defined ramp up to roll out and subsequent roll out plan for the Nintendo Wii. Even though at this point I think the code name of "Revolution" will prove to have been a better choice if the system can reach it's potential. Same with the XB360. I make no bones about the complaints I have with the XB360 system [from the pay for tier of the XBLive system, or the freezing issues] but game development is picking up on the platform, and they have adapted to new technologies to try and be even a tiny bit cutting edge. And while I think Sony is well meaning, I can't escape this horrible feeling. To use a sport analogy [because I didn't get to watch any boxing this past weekend] lets say that the next-gen console war that's about to start is a heavyweight boxing match. Well, instead of taking their opponent seriously the "undisputed champ" Sony has come into the ring without going through training camp and having a wild orgy the night before the fight with 4 hookers and some dude that was down at the bus depot: ill-equipped and unprepared.
In today's issue, find out if you can fry an egg on the PlayStation 3, find out if GameTap deserves so much ink, find out if a certain senator is thinking straight and find out just why you're suddenly feeling so old.
More Sony Woes: Two Wall Street Journal articles Wednesday expressed more bad news about Sony. In one article, the Journal revealed that Sony shares had fallen 5.3 percent during the previous week. The company closed down 2.7% to 4,600 yen ($39.09 in U.S. dollars) Tuesday, a day on which the Nikkei Stock Average was nearly unchanged. In a report issued by Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson, PlayStation 3 units on display at the Tokyo Game Show suffered overheating problems and had to be reset several times. A Sony spokesman told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that the company was unaware of any technical problems with the PS3. In another WSJ article, Fujitsu announced that it would recall 287,000 Sony battery packs from its computers. That brings the total in the Sony battery scandal to more than 7.6 million batteries. Here are the current recall numbers, as of Tuesday, Oct. 3:
Is GameTap Evil or Just Stupid? That's the question asked in two different recent stories. Manifesto Games co-founder Greg Costikyan tells Gamasutra, "I'm skeptical that their business model is sustainable." Meanwhile, on his own blog, Costikyan says that while a $60 price for a video game is too high, $10 is just too low.
Senator Wants to Impose Government Regulations on Game Ratings: U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, last week introduced a bill, The Truth in Video Game Rating Act, S.3935, that would direct the Federal Trade Commission to require that reviewers consider the full content of a video game before issuing a rating. Brownback's press release stated, "Currently game reviewers do not play the games before determining ratings, and their reviews are based on taped segments of the game submitted by the game's producer to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Such taped segments may or may not fully represent the game's content. The bill would prohibit video game producers and distributors from withholding or hiding playable content from a ratings organization." Brownback said, "Game reviewers must have access to the entire game for their ratings to accurately reflect a game's content." Want to comment to the senator directly? Just call his office at 202-224-6521. Tell him the Sistahs sent you.
Brings Out the 1986 In You: Just released, Voltron: Defender of the Universe Collection One focuses on five lion robots and their pilots as they defend the galaxy and planet Arus vs. the forces of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor from planet Doom. You're going to want to own this one, I bet.
I know you do... you and every other fanboy/girl on the planet, but if you think that just pre-ordering will help get you a shiny box on launch day it looks like you're wrong.
I was bopping around the internet while enjoying my afternoon snack [today was green apple jello day, if you must know] and came across this post on the Kotaku website. As the author quotes a Gamestop manager as saying
Each Gamestop store will receive an average of 6 systems (more for higher volume stores, less for dead stores). 1-2 systems can be given to employees at the store manager's discretion. The rest are given out to the store's "regulars." If a manager feels he has a customer who is very loyal (shops there often, reserves many things), they call them and ask them if they want to guarantee one of the remaining 4 consoles...and apparently all 4 of the remaining consoles are handed out in this fashion.
After reading that I thought I would warn the rest of you out there who, like me, don't pre-order every game on the planet or stop into your local Gamestop on a daily basis. Just having cash in your pocket [or plastic as the case may be] won't be enough any more to purchase an instrument of gaming pleasure... no, now you have to know a guy, that knows a guy, that works as a manager for Gamestop in order to get in on the fun on November 17th.
So not only do you have to "work harder" to earn the money to buy a system and a few games like Ken Kuturagi said, but you also need to dust off your networking skills [and I don't mean Myspace here people] in hopes of befriending every Gamestop manager and employee you can find. And I do mean every single one folks. Best to hit the stand alone stores as well as the ones implanted in the malls. Put the store number in your cell phone and land line speed dials. Ladies, if you are single and want to pick up a PS3, date a manager. [First make sure he's single, don't want to accused of being a home-wrecking wench now do we?] It might sound like a bad idea, but if you really want a PS3 system before 2007 and don't care that it will probably have a bad laser [and some cooling problems evidently] then do what must be done. You are loyal to Sony after all, aren't you?
As for me, I have no clue how the hell I'm going to get my hands on one, or if I really should take out renters insurance before I bring it home and plug it in.
Ok, I remember when KH2 was leaked over the interwebs before its official release last year, so when I heard about the new Final Fantasy game being leaked I took it with a minor grain of salt. I knew that it was *possible* but figured that it was not probably because Squenix, er Square Enix, wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
I really need to stop presuming and assuming things.
Upon double and triple checking, it seems that the files of the Final Fantasy XII game that people have been finding on ye olde interweb are actually viable and people have been downloading them. Now, unless you have done naughty and illegal things to your PS2 [you naughty, dregs of society you] getting the file won't do you much good.
I just think that the timing of this "leak" is suspicious... the game is accidentally leaked to the public a few weeks before the release? I dunno, maybe it's the hidden conspiracy theorist in me, but it seems to me all this "leak" has done is put a whole bunch of focus on the Final Fantasy game pre-commercial release that it may not have had otherwise.
FFXII was leap-frogged in the hype press by the trinity that is FFXIII which probably didn't go over well with the people who make the real money over there at Sony and Squenix. If people are waiting and looking forward to games that are slated for 07, they might overlook the game coming out now in 06. That statement has to send shivers down a stockholders spine. So how do you get some quick publicity for a game that you have coming out at the end of the month? You can't put together a contest or sweepstakes fast enough, and it might not reach your intended audience. A email newsletter won't do you much good either because between junk mail filters, and people just throwing out emails before reading them if they are low on time [or lack focusing brain power at the moment] your message still won't get out. But if you say, accidentally leak out a fully function version of the game that only a limited amount of your existing base can play, that will get the attention of the blogosphere and the fanboys, or that will get people focused on trying to find this pirated treasure of free gamitude so that your game name recognition goes up in the search engines, well, you might be on to something there. Get the people talking about the game, looking for it, and those slight few that have it and can play it will go on and on about how good it is [even if it sucks] because they have it and can play it before everyone else.
Are the Japanese getting tired of Sony's growing battery recall scandal?
That's the way it seems, reading the latest story about the recall in the Daily Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper.
Takashi Shimomiya and Tomoki Matsubara, staff writers for The Daily Yomiuri, wrote that Sony has been less than forthcoming in its information about the recall: "... Even after its decision to recall all lithium-ion batteries, Sony only released information on the products over the Internet," they wrote. "Its executives did not explain the problem or apologize to the public, bringing to light its reluctance to disclose information even though faults in production safety can be fatal to users."
The two Japanese journalists pointed out that Sony originally placed the blame on Dell Computer's original Aug. 15 recall on Dell itself. The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 16, "[Sony spokesman Rick] Clancy said other factors after the cells are manufactured can contribute to overheating problems, though he declined to elaborate."
On Thursday, Sept. 28, Sony released information through its corporate website that it would be expanding the recall of lithium-ion batteries used by Lenovo, Toshiba and Fujitsu, in addition to its existing recall of batteries used by Dell and Apple. The press release was not available on other Sony websites.
This expands the total recall to more than 7 million batteries, but the fallout could be much worse to the company.
"Given the nature of the relationship, in the real world the way that it plays out is that the [computer manufacturers] decrease what they buy from Sony. They'll say, 'We used to take 2 million from you and 3 million from Sanyo. Now we're going to take 4 million from Sanyo and 1 million from you. And that's punishment.'"
Kay added that the total recall could be as high as 10 million units.
Before Thursday's announcement, Dell had recalled 4.1 million Sony-made batteries and Apple had recalled 1.8 million. After Thursday's announcement, Dell recalled another 100,000 batteries.
Here are the current recall numbers, as of Sunday, Oct. 1:
Dell...........4,200,000 Apple..........1,800,000 Lenovo...........526,000 Toshiba..........830,000 Fujitsu....not announced
I will give you that Ken Kutaragi of Sony may not fit most definitions of the word "babe" but I did find this statement kind of childish, so it does count.
I'm chilling after an evening of visiting with friends when I open my email client to catch up today's gaming news. [I subscribe to a LOT of newsletters] And I got one that had a summary about this story from Joystiq where they quote Kutaragi as saying
"We do not care."
Kutaragi also goes on to admit that Sony is having problems producing blue lasers for the blue-ray drives in the PS3 machines
"Right now, it is an issue, because we can't manufacture enough blue laser diodes for our PlayStation 3's. But we will resolve that."
I hate that Sony is making me [of all people] sound like anything other than a gaming fangirl these days. =(
Not to be out done by the likes of Sony or Microsoft, it now looks like the Big N is going to be adding Commodore 64 games to the lineup of Wii Virtual console titles. No specific list of C64 titles yet, but one can only hope and let their imagination run wild.
Ok, now you might think that what I am about to say won't carry much credence because I haven't really played Halo all that much...
"Blasphemy" says you, and I know you are on to something there, I won't fight you on that. Well, actually I won't fight you on that because from what I've seen of the forthcoming game title Halo Wars I just may have to change that.
Now before you go and label a sistah a Sony or Nintendo fangirl [which would be the complete opposite of what the people who read Evermore's article earlier this week have said, or yelled at us. LOL] I've only ever stayed away from Halo because I just didn't think that I would have any fun playing the game because I usually just suck out loud with these types of titles. I always enjoy watching other people play the Halo game, but for me that was the extent of my involvement. It might be shallow, but if I find that I don't have any skill or aptitude to play a game, I will lose interest in it or just not want to play it at all. That's what happened with Halo for me.
Again, didn't hate it, it just wasn't for me. All was well with my world until I found out about Halo Wars today. I raced over to the IGN website to read this article on the game and watch this trailer from the game. Microsoft announced the game [along with a couple of other Halo titles that apparently stole the thunder of some other games being featured] at this years X06 event in Barcelona, Spain.
Why the about face on the Halo gamefront? Well, besides the fact that the trailer looks phenomenal, but Halo Wars is an RTS game... a genre of gaming that I'm getting more curious about these days more so because I'm really starting to enjoy online gaming and I think that RTS games and MMO [possibly MMORPG... just give me some time to warm up to it] could be damned entertaining.
What's even more interesting is that Bungie isn't developing the game but another company called Ensemble Studios makers of the very popular Age of Empires franchise.
What do you guys think about Halo Wars? Must or Bust?
It's official, Sony is not completely up their own ass.
Looks like new games for the PS3 are going to come out at the $59.99 price point here in the US. [Guess this means EA was right as well, who knew?] Yes, that's a mere $60 bucks for new titles for your shiny black box o' joy people. Everybody say "YAY! It's not $75!"
[This is the part of the post where the Sony fanboys start patting each other on the back]
Just consider this, if Madden 07 costs $59.99 to play on a $299 or $399 XB360, $49.99 to play on the $249 Nintendo Wii, will the better graphics of the $59.99 version of the game on a $599 PS3 be the predominant purchasing choice of the consumer given the economy's present state?
For video game players, the competition among the three game console manufacturers must seem like a Dead or Alive tournament. There's always a winner and a loser, but someone else is always lined up for another bout with the winner.
Few tears were spilled when the No. 4 console maker, Sega, dropped out of the market a few years ago. But can you imagine if, in a year from now, there were only TWO console game makers?
Not only COULD it happen, but we're going to tell you why it WILL happen.
Can Video Games Bring Down a Multinational Corporation?
Sony has a book value of $27 billion. It has nearly $9 billion in cash. Sony's not going anywhere. Or is it?
Sony is looking at a potential for demise it has never faced before. With the failure of its TV and music electronics businesses and its up-and-down movie business, it has relied more and more on the video game business to keep profits up.
But now even its video game business can't save the company. In fact, it's the video game business that could put the whole company right down the toilet.
Here's a story of a company in trouble. Sure, you think you could help it by buying a new PS3 at the end of the year. But purchasing a PS3 this year could be the very thing that pushes Sony over the edge.
The Seeds Are Sown
Sony's troubles didn't just begin this year, but we all started to realize the wheels were falling off the train when Sony started delaying the release of the new PlayStation 3. The first excuse Sony made was that licensing issues were causing the delay from Spring 2006 to November 2006.
Around the same time Sony was putting off the release, analysts released a disturbing story about the disparity in the cost of raw materials for the PS3, compared with the estimated purchase price.
Analysts had predicted the PS3 cost would be in line with the cost of the Microsoft XBox 360 consoles.
In a February story for CNet, it was estimated that the total cost of components for the PS3 would be in the neighborhood of $725 to $905 -- and that was before it was rumored that Sony would have to put PS2 components in the box because the new chip lacked the ability to emulate the earlier PSOne and PS2 games.
The CNet story said, "The materials price estimates do not include marketing, software development, advertising or other costs, which will push Sony's total cost per console even higher."
That there is such a disparity between the price of materials and the suggested retail price for a new console is not unusual because most new consoles are sold as loss-leaders, with the game maker making up the difference with the high margin of profit they get by selling games for the console.
In contrast, the materials cost for the XBox 360 is estimated at only $501, and should continue to drop as the console ages. While Sony pays $200 to $300 for each raw Blu-ray drive, Microsoft pays only $20 for the simpler DVD drives.
The Truth Hits Home
With such estimates for raw materials, video game fans should have known that the new machine would need to cost a lot more. But a huge audience that was prepared to cheer the announced price of the PS3 instead sat in stunned silence when the suggested retail price was announced at the E3 conference: $499 for the basic system and $599 for the premium one.
Of course, the single most costly item in the PS3 is the Blu-ray drive. Analysts originally figured Blu-ray would add at least another $200 or so to the price of the machine, but that figure has gone way up.
First, there's more than just the mechanical equipment to figure in. Sony must also pay for all the codecs that must be licensed.
Second, the slow adoption of high density DVD technology will keep prices high for years.
Finally, all manufacturers of the blue lasers that are required for high density DVDs are having problems getting up to speed in creating the machines. This will result in low yields, further driving up the price of the drives.
Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi was not ambivalent about the pricing of the console -- he kept saying it was a premium machine, sold at a premium price. Want a PS3? Work a little harder!
"Our ideal," Kutaragi said, "is for consumers to think to themselves, 'OK, I'll work more hours and buy it.' We want people to feel that they want it, no matter what."
But the consumer reaction was swift -- and harsh. Even the Official Playstation Magazine had a bold cover headline that asked, "Is It Worth $600?"
In June, a month after Sony announced its price points for the PS3, analysts at Merrill Lynch estimated Sony would lose more than $1 billion in the console's first year of existence. By comparison, Sony lost only $458 million during the first year the PS2 was available. The company followed that with two strong years of profit -- $759 million in Year 2 and $1.3 billion in Year 3.
But Merrill Lynch warned that this generation of consoles was not like the last. Microsoft beat Sony for the next generation consoles by a year and a price reduction for the XBox could result in additional losses for Sony -- $730 million in Year 2 and $457 million in Year 3. That's nearly $2 billion in losses over three years.
The Cost of Doing Business
Of course, analysts questioning Sony's moves is nothing new. More than 10 years ago, just six weeks before Sony introduced the original PlayStation, the head of the project team quit amid rumors of difficulties in getting the console out on time.
Analysts at the time believed Sony could lose as much as $200 million on the project in the first year.
Sony's answer at the time was to require retailers to bundle the packages with one or two games, which still left Sony underwater, but not as much as it would have been.
This, of course, begs the question, "Will Sony pull the same thing this year?" It makes sense, especially considering that Sony will be charging a premium price for its games (above $59 and below $99, according to most sources).
The bad news for Sony this year isn't restricted to video game competition. The company is also liable for a large share in the laptop battery recalls being conducted by Dell and Apple. Nearly 6 million batteries have been recalled in the past two months -- all of them manufactured by Sony.
The battery fiasco alone could cost Sony as much as $500 million.
"The most important thing for Sony is maintaining the No. 1 quality, whatever the category or area," Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc. Senior Vice President Kiyoshi Shikano told MarketWatch this month. "So in that sense, unfortunately, the recent happenings have caused some small damage for the business."
In addition, Sony is far behind its competitors in the fast growing LCD flat-screen TV market and has lost its decades-long edge in portable music devices to Apple Computer's iPod players.
Sony is also likely to face a fight in Europe over its partnership with Betlesmann AG. A European court ruled in July that the European Commission was wrong to approve the venture. The court decision means Sony and Bertelsmann will have to re-apply to win European Commission approval for their venture.
At the movie box office, Sony has had great success with its Spiderman franchise, but must wait until May 2007 for the next installment to arrive. The company's biggest film this year has been Will Farrell's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which has made $145 million thus far, but lags far behind Disney's hit sequel for Pirates of the Caribbean, which has already made more than $1 billion worldwide this summer.
The Market Leader Goes Into the Cellar
Although the PS2 captured more than a 70 percent share of the previous generation of console sales, it is entering the next generation at a distant third, with Microsoft predicted to sell 10 million XBox 360 consoles and Nintendo selling 4 million of its new Wii consoles, while Sony will be able to push out only 2 million consoles to consumers by the end of this year.
That fact alone has analysts betting that Sony will introduce price cuts quickly. But price cuts, in combination with the losses Sony takes on each machine it sells, are a double-edged sword.
"By reducing the price, it appears that Sony may have prolonged its recouping period of initial investments on the PS3 by a few years," John Yang, a Tokyo-based analyst with Standard & Poor's, told the Wall Street Journal today. According to the Wall Street Journal article, Yang estimates the PlayStation 3 will be unprofitable for at least three years.
The Journal story brings up another point that may draw the most fear in the ranks of Sony -- the PlayStation will no longer dominate game developers. When the original PlayStation and PS2 were introduced, Sony had an impressive lineup of developers who made games exclusively for its consoles. That won't be the case with the PS3.
"We don't want the PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them," Michihiro Sasaki, senior vice president of Square Enix, told the Wall Street Journal. "But we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much."
So the price cuts have already begun. On Friday Sony announced a price cut for Japanese buyers (about $410 in U.S. dollars for the low-end version), there was no indication that such a price cut would be given to American customers.
In addition to lowering the price of the low-end model, Sony added an HDMI port to the machine, which further increases the price of raw materials. Sony will undoubtedly be losing even more money than ever before.
Do the Math
As a result, Sony is forecasting an $862 million operating loss for the current fiscal year. But that's going to seem like chicken feed, compared to the loss it's liable to see in 2007.
How much will Sony lose in the next 12 months? Let's count it up.
Sony plans on making 6 million PS3 units before April. Let's say that they sell every one of them at full retail price. With what we know about the materials price -- particularly the price of Blu-Ray players -- let's say that they will lose only $300 for every PS3 they sell.
6,000,000 x $300 = $1.8 billion
That's the same amount that analysts figure the PS3 will cost the company over the first three years. Why the disparity?
The analysts are counting on Sony making up the sales of machines with the sales of video games. But it's not going to be as easy for Sony this time. Few game developers are making games exclusively for the PS3.
Also, Sony has already said that games would be at least $10 more than the games for the XBox 360 and at least $20 more than the games for the Nintendo Wii. With everything being the same, would you pay $10 or $20 more for the same game that you could play on your XBox 360 or Wii?
In addition, Sony will be nickle-and-diming you at every opportunity -- particularly with the HDMI cable, which will likely cost between $99 and $129. (That's surely why they added an HDMI port for the low-end PS3. They'll make their money back on the cable for it.)
Surely the discounts will come quickly, but they'll all be a drag on Sony's bottom line. Let's say Sony loses $400 on every box they sell. Here are the numbers:
6,000,000 x $400 = $2.4 billion
That really starts taking a mammoth chunk out of Sony's cash. Add to that the half-billion dollars of free laptop batteries they've got to give out and the losses start approaching $3 billion.
But a company like Sony can afford to lose $4 billion, can't it? Once upon a time, that might have been true, but Sony is a much different company today than it was just a few years ago.
The Japanese people who owned shares in Sony could see the value in building for the future. But, with its purchase of Columbia Studios and Columbia Records, Sony has become much more of a multinational company. Today, for the first time in its history, less than half of the company is owned by Japanese investors. Investors in the West demand more short-term benefits.
Devoting nearly half of its cash reserves to losses in the video game and computing sectors, with no guarantee of future profits for another two years, could send the company's stock into a tailspin, once its investors realize the full measure of the grave situation for the company.
In such a situation, Sony could start selling off large chunks of the company. But even that would come at a large cost. For example, selling off the movie division would result in the loss of the Spiderman franchise for the PlayStation. Without an exclusive there, Microsoft and Nintendo would gain the edge in game sales, since their games cost less than Sony's.
Sony has become a minor player in the music player and TV industries, so they wouldn't be able to make much money off selling their stake in the aging Walkman and Trinitron franchises.
When things are all said and done, the most valuable piece of the pie at Sony is its video game division. They could very well put it up for sale. And who could be the potential buyer?
That's right. I said it. Just think about it.
Who could benefit the most by purchasing Sony's video game division?
You might say there's no way the U.S. government would allow such a thing. Anti-trust, you say.
Just remember who's running the government. A Microsoft takeover would be treated with the same kid gloves that created DaimlerChrysler.
Who knows? This time next year you could be playing games on a PlayStation 360.
Want a PS3? Work a Little Harder!
So you want to save Sony. What can you do?
Well, as Sony's Kutaragi says, you need to work a little harder and make a little more money.
Stop complaining that the PS3 costs $600. It doesn't. In order to cut down on its losses, Sony is liable to do the same thing to consumers that it did 11 years ago at the original Playstation launch -- it'll require that you buy two games in order to get a machine. That'll boost the price for you to around $725 or so.
But there's more! Want an HDMI cable? That'll be another $100 to $125. Now we're at $850 or so. You've got a Blu-ray player, so you'll want a few Blu-ray movies -- Sony titles only, of course. Buy six of them while you're at it! At an average list price of $25 each, we're talking another $150. That pushes our total price to an even $1,000.
The problem with being a video game analyst is that sometimes you have to read between the lines. That task is harder when the lines are written in Kanji.
That was the task when the news came across the ol' wire about the surprising price reduction in the Sony PlayStation 3. Price reduction, you ask?
Price reduction is right. Apparently, Sony announced a price reduction in the lower-end model of the Playstation 3 for Japanese customers -- a 10,000 Yen price reduction. That's $85 to us folks in America.
It sure looks true. But if you go to the page where it was announced, you have to do a little extra-hard reading to divine the information. Click here to see for yourself.
The page is written in Kanji, the simpler of many Japanese languages. There are just enough English characters on the page to pull the high points out of the page:
PLAYSTATION®3 HDD 20GB HDMI 49,980
The original price announced for the PS3 at E3 in May was nearly 60,000 Yen. That means Sony lopped off a full 10,000 Yen off the price. The 20GB model is the low-end model, which was announced to be selling for $499.99 in the U.S. come November.
We had to learn more, so we sicced Babelfish on the page. Here's the translation verbatim:
PLAYSTATION®3 HDD 20GB HDMI standard loading The Japanese domestic desired retail price 49 and 980 Yen (including tax)
Corporation SONY computer entertainment (SCEI), next generation computer entertainment system "place t Shaun 3" (PS3) HDMI* (Ver. 3 Deep Color correspondence) standard we load the output terminal in HDD20GB. In addition, desired retail price 49 and 980 Yen (including tax) we set the Japanese domestic price of the same type.
Announcing the specification of PS3 2005 May E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in, from the fact that later, flat display of the full HD correspondence which loads HDMI is thrown by the market accelerating, high picture quality image and the appearance impression due to HDMI the demand for the digital sound which overflows exceeding expectation, has increased, we decided that standard it loads HDMI in the PS3 all type.
The software manufacturer each company way while receiving the cooperation, it starts propelling SCEI, at a stroke with the attractive only of PS3 and advancing the development of original title powerfully, PS3 as an entertainment platform of the next generation.
* High-Definition Multimedia Interface
Once you get beyond the funny Pidgin English, there's something that you realize about the release. Not only is Sony reducing the price of the low-end PS3, they are also including an HDMI port on the thing.
Originally, the HDMI port was supposed to be included only on the $599.99 high end model. Now, by putting the HDMI port on the low-end model, it suddenly makes the low-end model a viable competitor to the high-end Microsoft XBox 360.
And then you stop dead in your tracks. Sure, the Japanese get an $85 price reduction and an HDMI port on the low-end PS3, but what about America? Will we see similar changes?
Bopping around ye olde interweb and I come across this video of one of Sony's PS3 ads and I thought I'd share it with you. I know how warm and fuzzy sharing makes me feel on the inside, so you better enjoy it.
Now, I don't exactly or rightly know what Sony is trying to get at in the ad other than the "dawn of the age of gameplay and true player interaction" is about come into being. But I was mostly left with an overriding feeling that Sony was trying to tell me to get my ass to a gym and get in shape so I can use the system. I was going to say "play with" the system in that last sentence, but I have accepted that the PS3 is not at toy and should be spoken of with the utmost reverence. [Let the sarcasm of that last line not fall on deaf ears...laugh damn you, laugh!]
In any case, watch the video below. You need to have the flash player installed on your machine to see it. If you don't want to install the flash player and you have a nice broadband connection you can click on this link and download the high resolution AVI file from the Playsyde website.
Sony has once more laid a quick back hand on the face of the consumer base. Recently SCEA posted the specs for the PS3 on their US website and the base specs look good. Unfortunately two pieces of what you get "in the box" for the $600 dollar box should piss most consumers off.
First thing, Sony is NOT including an HDMI cable. Yes, you get the opportunity to pay $600 for the potential of next gen high definition gaming, but you have to bring your own cable on that end. Now, let's say that the PS3 HDMI cable that is sold separately costs you $70 bucks,[a low ball estimate btw since current HDMI cables start at around $89.99] at least they will hook you up with some component cables in the box so that you can take advantage of some high-er definition visuals right?
WRONG AGAIN PUNK!
According to Slashdot the $600 PS3 unit ships with COMPOSITE cables only...you know the type, its the same cable you use to hook up your PS2 or Gamecube to your TV right now. Yep, you get to pay top dollar for PS3 potential just don't expect Sony to help you help them reach that potential. Yes, even if you don't have a TV with an HDMI port but do have component inputs you'll have to buy a set of component cables yourself in order to take advantage of the high definition capabilities. Yes your friends at SCEA are throwing up a big "eff you" to the consumer.
80 bucks for an HDMI cable or 50 bucks for a component cable on top of the $600 the hi-def PS3 will cost you and don't forget a game...brings us closer to an $800 initial potential investment.
Sorta makes it hard to show brand loyalty now doesn't it?
It took me a while to realize that this image [click on the image for larger view] was an ad for the Sony Playstation 2.
Evidently TBWA/Paris [knowledge of the French language will aid you should you choose to click this link] created a series of ads for Sony for the Playstation 2 earlier this year that as you can see are highly detailed and very abstract and "artistic" in their visuals. I enjoy creativity, I like to think I am a creative person myself, but I sure would not have come up with anything like these ads in my longest days. I guess in my mind I'm just too linear.
I sure wouldn't have come up with the idea to have a dude sniffing panties in the shapes of the Playstation buttons. Yeah, it took me a moment to realize that the panties in the ads were in the shapes of the action buttons of the Playstation controller. It was only after about the fourth viewing of the ad in a larger size that I recognized it myself, so don't feel bad if you didn't see it yourself the first time that you saw the image. The expression on the guys' face while sniffing the panties is *kinda* distracting from anything else going on in the ad. Go ahead, click on the image to see a larger version of it. Examine it well, because it is well done, but man that's "creative" thinking going on right there.
Then there was this ad, called "Head" which won Print/Outdoor Single Grand Clio award in May. [The "Panties" ad above one the Bronze award]
It's difficult to see in the small size version of this ad, but in the larger version you can see the extent to which the interior of the head is detailed. The detail in the appearance of each eyeball is amazing, and the paddle that repetitively slaps the ass is funny. I don't think I even have to mention the small, "captured" brain there in the back, nor do I have to mention that I think it's noting that this male character has a tiny brain. [Women have been saying for years that guys have tiny brains, this ad merely confirms that Sony agrees with that]
As a designer I have to admit that I am envious that I have never come up with any work on this level, or even had an idea close to those utilized in this ad campaign. At the same time as a gamer I have to ask, "What the fuck?!" Those ads to me aren't remotely a reminder of Playstation 2, or gaming, or fun in anyway shape or form. The kind of people that these ads would make an impression on are not the same audience that would run out and buy a copy of Dance Dance Revolution. So I am struggling to understand why Sony would pay to have these ads created if they were not going to be used in a global ad campaign. That kind of work can't be cheap or all that "affordable" to begin with. I know what I charge per hour to just "design" a website [costs you more if you want me to implement it] and know that it can't come close to what TBWA/Paris gouged Sony for. I just don't see anything that makes me tie these images in my mind first to gaming or playing video games or secondly to Sony.
Isn't the purpose of advertising to come up with audio and visuals that create an instant bond in the public's mind [or ears] that will make them constantly tie that imagery or audio with your product or company? If that doesn't happen, isn't the ad a failure?
Makes me wonder WTF dood? Ok pervs, you may go back and look at the guy sniffin' the panties again...I'm done.