Wright on Colbert!
According to Kotaku, Steven Colbert will be having Will Wright on his show on Monday, December 4th. Apparently, the elves over at EA leaked the information, but its unknown what Wright will actually be talking about (although I'd imagine spore is a safe bet - I also wouldn't be surprised to see something on EA's Wii version of 'The Sims').
Steven Colbert is a pretty big nerd from what I understand and it seems as if he's been enjoying the Wii from the bit that was on his show.
Any Colbert fans know more about his gaming habits? Anyone gonna tune in for Wrights appearance? Anyone have any thoughts on the new version of The Sims on the Wii?
So... Rob mentioned to me that VGCats posted a link to a site called 'Wii have a problem'. The site chronicles Wii-motes that have been freed from their strap shackles and taken flight... right into people's walls, windows, and other electronics. It's actually kind of funny, provided it hasn't happened to you.
The only case if seen a strap break was when a friend of mine actually tried to prove that the strap wouldn't break by sort of throwing the remote with it strapped to his wrist.
Anyone had Wii-motes that have taken flight? Anyone else had any situations where overzealous controller use has resulted in controller death or the breaking of other objects in your home?
10 Worst 1st Party Controllers of All Time
With so much talk about the innovative Wiimote controller, MobyGames contributing writer, Ronald Diemicke has put together the 10 Worst 1st Party Controllers of All Time. Nintendo made the list twice.
Are you the hackmaster?
So according to Eurogamer, there's a soul out there who's recently put Fedora 5 on his Playstation 3. He's giving away the aforementioned console, the catch is you've gotta hack into it and replace an image.
At the same time, Kotaku has run an article that the first images of bluray games for the PS3 have been hitting the net despite there being no way to play them back.
It seems as if making the PS3 an open platform has just opened up the door for all types of insanity to occur. The upshot is that buying a ps3 is almost like buying a media center PC if you put linux on it because of all the things you can do with it. The downside for Sony is that it's probably going to be next to no time before people start hacking the eight core wonder to pirate games.
Isn't this almost like what killed the Dreamcast? Also, isn't it funny that when the Xbox first came out, it was also extremely PC like (leading many people to hack the system to get the most out of it) and now Sony has basically given users free reign to do what they want with their hardware? Coincidence?
The Playstation 3: Sly-like-a-fox or just plain stupid?
While recovering from the holidays, I saw that Kotaku had this article running which mapped out the release for the rest of the year. By looking at it, it doesn't really seem like there's much (if anything) left to wait for depending on the platforms you own.
I'd swear that in previous years, companies sometimes waited till the last minute to get their games out there. Releases were staggered all over the holiday, but this meant that while you might get excited about a game, there was also a possibility that it might not ACTUALLY ship before the holiday deadline. So on one hand this is good because things are out well in advance, but it does take a bit of the mystery out of the holiday.
This year, we had a couple major release drops over the past couple weeks and that was it. Gears of War, Rainbow 6 Vegas and Superman Returns on the 360 and the launches of the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. Now, there are like just a handful of worthwhile original titles to be released that aren't ports (Star Trek: Legacy, Elebits, and Full Auto 2 are the main ones that come to mind), remakes or kids games across ALL of the platforms.
Is this just a trend with the new consoles? Or is this another casualty of the rising cost of triple A game titles? Looking forward to anything that hasn't been released yet or are you waiting to pickup one of those titles from a couple weeks ago?
Need the police? Send the bill to Sony.
According to WHDH-TV in Boston and Joystiq, Boston's mayor, Thomas Menino, is billing Sony for the man power of twelve police cruisers that were necessary to subdue the situation at the Sony Style store during the Playstation 3 launch. Supposedly, things got out of hand when 500 people waiting to purchase Playstation 3s rushed the store at 5am. The Mayor blames Sony for the insanity that took place at the store because of their withholding of launch numbers and lack of pre-orders.
Talk about crazy. I know there was talk that Best Buy sent out a memo to their stores to suggest the managers contact the police to request additional patrols the nights leading up to the console launch. You'd think with Sony realizing what was going on with the PS3 first hand that they'd have taken the same precautions. So many things could have prevented the situation from getting out of hand. Hopefully this sticks, but I doubt it will.
Is Sony in the wrong here? Is this what the police are for? Is any console worth risking life and limb for (despite how much you can sell it for on Ebay)?
Nintendo is making money ... Sony is not
Er. Big surprise. gameindustry.biz is reporting that Nintendo is making money on every Wii they sell. Nintendo of Canada exec Pierre-Paul Trépanier said,
"We make a profit on the system itself. Unlike our competitors, we don’t have ulterior motives; we’re not in it to sell HD TVs, or to become the operating system in the living room or anything like that.
"We’re in the gaming business, and we have to make money from everything we sell - and we are making money from day one on the Wii."
Evidence from the Wii launch day is that almost anyone one who wanted the Nintendo console could get their hands on it. The Toys-R-Us at Times Square in New York was rumored to have 5,000 Wii's on day one. Good news for Nintendo, which plans to sell 4 million units by Christmas.
In somewhat related news iSuppli has broken down the component cost of Sony's Playstation 3. They estimate Sony loses around $240 - $305 per unit. I am always skeptical on this type of bottom up analysis. Consumer electronics have huge fixed costs and very little variable costs. Meaning if you an I were to create a new graphics chip and only produced one, that chip would cost about one billion dollars. Of course once the fab is set up, each additional chip costs like no money. So the whole question is volume. Doing a component analysis without including volume in the equation is pretty ... well ... retarded. Given that Sony will only crank out 400,000, on the high end, this holiday season my guess is they are going to take a bath. This could also explain why Nintendo is claiming to make money on each unit. Not that the components are not expensive taken individually. Just that once you crank out 4 million of the little white buggers, the per unit costs drops well below the $250 retail price.
Sony's blunders aren't limited to hardware...
So... about a week and a half ago I received an e-mail that outlined an event at the Sony Style store on Madison ave. in Manhattan. The event had registration and everything, just like an event I'd attended two weeks previously.
"Awesome... Ludacris, D-Nice and Charlie Murphy... who cares... I'll have a shot at getting a PS3" I thought. My registration went through with no problems.
Flash forward a week and a half.
I got up this morning and got into the city and had little trouble finding the place. Upon arriving though, I didn't see any sign of anything. My first thought was that maybe the line wouldn't start forming till later. So I entered the store and queried a sales representative... his "I just swallowed a bug" look was priceless and I knew I was in for disappointment. He suggested I speak with the manager and pointed her out.
So I spoke with her. Two gentleman were already speaking with her. "What do you mean my registration dosen't mean anything? How could you not know about the launch party?"
I stepped up, identified myself and explained the situation again to her as one of the gentleman pulled out a PDA with the e-mail invite displayed.
After speaking with her, we realized the store's event and the event we'd registered for were one and the same... what was the deal here?
She finally told us that she couldn't help us and excused herself. We all began to walk away one of them made mention that the line was back down to the Disney store.
I didn't know how far that was away. So I stepped outside looking for someone handling the event with more knowledge and to assess the line.
I found a woman in a black suit at the front of the line opening a box full of PSP games to give away to the rabid crowd. I asked her if she worked for Sony and she said she handled the event. She informed me the e-mail was not an RSVP and was just to judge the response. Rather than fight her, I resigned myself to looking at the line and talking to those brave hearty souls who ventured out days in advance. The front of the line began was filled with people who camped out on Monday. When I got to where people from Wednesday were, I was about half way along. People seemed excited, but I also got the feeling they may not have been well informed. Sony marketing had done their job; sell your product and make people think they need the biggest baddest one ever.
The line went on for two city blocks. Not everyone in the line would get one.
I even witnessed the rage of the masses when one guy tried to cut in line. This is New York. You're libel to get beat up for less than that.
After discussing the Playstation 3 with the masses I called it a day. The irony to the whole situation is upon arriving home, I re-checked Sony's e-mail where it has the link to register for the event and the exact words read as follows: "RSVP to www.eventville.com/playstation3"
So... apparently RSVP means different things to different people I guess.
Make sure you post your own Playstation 3 and Wii launch event stories as they come up! What about other system launches? Anyone have any good stories?
Spring time for Halo... sorta...
So according to last night's late Bungie update, Bungie and Microsoft have cleared a way to do a public beta of the next Halo game's multiplayer side next spring. They aren't announcing what that way is, but I'd pretty much guess that It'll be one of three ways: 1) Randomly from the forums 2) On the Official Xbox Magazine DVD 3) Publicly for XBox Live Gold members
If it's #1 - there will be a mass amount of people who get invites and then decide to Ebay their Xbox Live accounts, and there are enough crazy frenzied Halo players that would buy them. If its #2 - the magazine sells out nearly immediately (but this makes the magazine's publisher, Future US Inc., truck loads of money, with M$ probably seeing a bit of play from that). If its #3 - You'll see gold subscriptions shoot through the roof and people who already have gold membership will get a bit more for their buck. All of this being taken into account, there are reasons for and against all three, but because its public, I think #1 is far less likely, but I guess it depends on the scope they're going for too.
Ultimately the question that must be asked is : How many hoops are willing to jump through (and how much are you willing to spend) to play a beta of the new Halo game? Anyone else think maybe a channel in live to play limited betas of games would be cool? Would it be feasible? Would you pay for access to such an area of XBox Live and if so, how much ?
Duke Nukem *Not* Forever
Best Buy is stating a Jan 2, 2007 release date for the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever. I think I was still in diapers when this game was initially announced. DN:Forever was supposed to be the sequel to the amazingly awesome ( at the time ) Duke Nukem 3D. Forever has been just that. The conventional wisdom was that the development would take forever and no one honestly ever believed that the game would see the light of day. Developer 3D Realms has always said that DN:Forever would be released "When it's done". After ten years "when it's done" seemed like never. Even the concept art looks dated not too mention the evolution of technology since 1996.
Is this game really coming out? Are any Duke Nukem 3D fans still alive?
Countdown to Console Chaos...
So this is it. This is the week many of us has been waiting for. NEW CONSOLE WEEK! *turns on the applause sign*.
I've got an invite to the Sony launch craziness here in New York at Sony's store on Madison Avenue, but I've still gotta get there early. The only question is how early I get there, which depends on if I've got the cash to lay out for the system. However, after all of the info that has come out from the Japanese launch, I'm a bit more excited than I was for the system.
Various sites have reported that the hard drive is exchangeable with any other size PC SATA hard drive and you won't void your warranty. Not only that, but you can also install all sorts of other operating systems and your own applications. The hard drive thing has kinda got me leaning toward grabbing a 20gb model. I don't really need the media card reader and wireless features, and I'll probably replace the hard drive with a bigger one anyway for all the cool tinkering I can do with linux.
The openness of the platform does have me extremely concerned that the Playstation 3 might turn into the new Dreamcast in terms of system lifespan and the ease of piracy.
Also, The Wii then hits a couple days later. I know that many of the EB/Gamestops are doing midnight sales, with other stores that have lines that will probably be starting days before the launch (as will the lines for the PS3).
So really the question for the holiday is - Xbox 360, Wii or PS3? Anyone have any plans to go camping for either of the two new systems? What launch titles are you picking up? What do the holidays hold for your gaming life?
After many weeks of discussion about release dates and numbers (from the high price to the low number of units), the closure of Lik-Sang and heated fanboy arguments about who had the power upperhand between Sony's third console and the X360, Japanese owners finally got their hands on the ¥60'000 console (roughly US$510 or 400€). Given the small number of units available (80'000), it's no surprise the console quickly sold out.
Popular gaming blog Kotaku published a first-hand report on the release of the console. The "dark side" of the release, that is.The first owner, for instance, was a Chinese man with no Japanese language skills, and haven't bought a single game. Where will that console end? Most likely at the hands of a gamer willing to pay double or triple for the console elsewhere, be it Japan, China, North America or Europe. In fact, a lot of those in queue were either being paid to buy the console and drop it at a truck outside the mall, or students looking for a quick fix of cash.
For the official release, American buyers will have a wait a week more, while Europeans have four more months of the waiting game.
More Microsoft Hardware Woes
As discussed earlier, I was quite excited to discover a little package from Microsoft when I got back from Montreal. A brand new Xbox 360 HD DVD drive. After installing the hardware and associated updates I was I horrified to discover that when I hit the eject button for the first time the unit decided to rip out its HD DVD laser diode.
Inside parts on the outside.
When the tray ejected it stopped about one third of the way out, did a little back and forward movement and then fully ejected. Of course sitting happily on the tray was the laser. Unit completely broken. Unlike Brian's well reported experiences, shall we say fiasco, with Xbox support, Microsoft is shipping me a replacement unit sans charge. We shall see if it ever shows up.
Who loves Bees?
One to two million. That is my back of the envelope calculation of what ilovebess cost. Elan Lee, VP of Experience Design at 42 Entertainment and Lead Designer and Director of the incredibly successful Alternate Reality Game ilovebees, was vague about the costs of an ARG during his talk at the Montreal International Game Summit. While he did not give a definitive number he did say a "typical" ( if there is such a thing ) ARG costs three to four times as much as a casual game and many many times less than the production cost of a major console game. Having a rudimentary understanding of the casual game market and the costs associated with producing a title I feel confident of the one to two million dollar estimate. Of course this doesn't really gel with an earlier statement Elan made in his talk saying during the height of staffing levels the ilovebees team was around 140 people. 140 people can burn through a lot of money pretty quickly.
While I was a fan of the game I never really participated in ilovebess. Did anyone actually get active in the game? Did you even know about 42 Entertainment's other project hex 168?
Ben Kosmina reaches 10,000 points!
Our Aussie contributor and approver Ben Kosmina is now among the select group of 20 people with more than 10,000 points. Congratulations, Ben!
Ways to blow up stuff for all members of the family...
If you've got an XBox 360, this is a good month for you. Gears of War, Call of Duty 3, Star Trek: Legacy, Blitz: The League, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Superman Returns, and Rainbow Six : Vegas are just some of the high impact titles that are supposed to come out this month... But that's only half the battle.
Then you've got everything over XBox Live Arcade. They've been scratching the itch for classic and indy games. And according to 1UP.com, one of the great classic PC gaming experiences is nearly ready to make the jump to Live.
Worms is nearly done for XBox Live Arcade. Supposedly it's in the process of being certified and then slated for release into the Arcade deployment schedule. It certainly seems like there is no shortage of stuff to be released on Live Arcade, which is great, I just wish we were getting some of it quicker.
Worms is one of those games that will really capitalize off of the combination of a gamepad, online play, and voice chat. Playing Worms 2 on the PC was loads of fun online and was also the cause of much swearing because of the high intensity gameplay. Here's hoping that its released on XBL before years end.
Anyone else excited about the 360 release list? What game are you looking forward to the most? What classic PC title do you think would work best on XBox Live Arcade?
When is Pong not Pong...?
When it's the newest Virtua Tennis game on the Playstation 3. Gaming blog, UK Resistance, has a post about how SIXAXIS will supposedly work on the PS3 controller. If there were any doubt in my mind that SIXAXIS gimmick before, it'd been replaced by firm belief. I'm sure the SIXAXIS motion control could be used in interesting ways, but based on the fundamental design of the controller, I don't really see it being a replacement for a lot of the control mechanisms we use today. I can't even imagine what watching someone play this game must look like, let alone doing it myself. I need to believe that you're able to drop this game back to using the thumbsticks.
Pong was simple. You went up or down to hit the ball. Now, here we are over two decades later and we're finding ways to make things needlessly complicated. I think that part of the reason that the Wiimote works as a motion control device is the shape. As a rectangle, it has a defined shape and is easy to use and manipulate conceptually. Many objects have the rough simple shape of a rectangle, like a fishing pole, baseball bat, or a golf club. The PS3 controller is ... awkward. Awkward to hold in any orientation other than the original indented horizontal form and is an awkward shape for visually comparing it to other objects around us. Also, its not like there isn't a bit of history here with these type of things failing. If the motion sensing isn't anything shy of perfection in your home environment, you'll end up with another Nintendo PowerGlove or Sega Activator on your hands.
So is SIXAXIS going to be relegated to poor implementation and gimmicky usage or does it just need to find its place? Does anyone else have any theories about how implementation could work for games with SIXAXIS or why its harder than the Wiimote? Is everyone going to be motion controlled out in three months?
Another reason to get fibre in the home
Kotaku is running a completely unsubstantiated rumor that Microsoft will be offering high def movies for download as part of the Xbox Live offering.
"Microsoft will begin offering downloadable HD movies later this month. At launch time- rumored to be around Nov. 22-over 1100 hours of video will be available to rent or purchase through an XBOX 360 connected to XBOX Live."
I have been drooling for either HD DVD or Blu Ray for months. The high def capabilities of my TV have been largely unused every since I got the monster a number of years ago. Being able to download HD movies sounds ... well ... awesome. However the tyranny of reality promises to shatter my 1080p dreams. At the theoretical top speed of my home connection it will still take over 24 hours to download a single movie. Even if I do download something the movie wouldn't even fit on the measly 20Gb 360 drive. I imagine that while the video may *play* in 1080p the poor thing will have the crap compressed out of it and will leave many including myself rather disappointed.
Nintendo releases Wii emulation titles and pricing
As reported by DailyTech, Nintendo has released the number of emulated consoles (NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, and TurboGrafx16) as well as some of the initial offerings (Sonic, Bonk, Zelda, etc.). The pricing model is based on "points", of which you can purchase 2000 for $20 (ie. a penny a point) and games will cost between 800 and 1000 points to play.
Personally, I think the pricing is about double what it should be (everybody has played most of the offerings ten times over), but at least it's not completely unreasonable and unrealistic, like $19.99 per game.
The Business Side of Making the Game
MobyGames friend, mentor and advisor Greg Boyd has authored with Brian Green, a practical guide to the business and legal aspects of starting and running a game business. Business & Legal Primer for Game Development "... explores the major legal and business issues involved in game development with a particular focus on starting a business. "
Brian has a post on his blog describing the book along with a detailed description of the table of contents. Anyone running or considering starting a small business in the industry this is a definite must read.
Wright-ing the world
The New Yorker posted a profile of EA's Will Wright, creator of such time consuming black holes as SimCity and The Sims. It's a pretty comprehensive article about Wright, his new game Spore, and a number of relevant milestones in the industry. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in any of the aforementioned.
One of the things that really struck me is the comparison of The Sims to a dollhouse. I'd never really considered it a replacement for an age old tradition (actually playing with dolls, in this case) and it really got me thinking that a lot of these building games are taking old concepts from childhood and are refining them. I remember putting train sets together and you could make the compassion that games like Rollercoaster Tycoon do the same thing. Can anyone think of any games that either supplement or replace childhood games or experiences? Are there any that anyone can think of that would maker particularly good games?
Phishing attempt using Lik-Sang Refund
Well the news of Lik-Sang closing down has reached internet scammers. Emails promising refund money have been circulating to people who do not have any outstanding orders. It appears that this is some sort of phishing attempt. The link goes to the domain ljk-sang.com instead of lik-sang.com. Does the human race really deserve to survive?
Oct 31, 2006