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Nokia Admits defeat
I am loath to announce any bad news about the video game industry. I think there is enough negativism out there. When Fatbabies was still spewing it's venom I was resistant to post their rumors and "stories". However Nokia has just announced that the N-Gage was not as successful as they had hoped. Nokia will stop developing the platform. Now this is just fancy corporate speak for "failure". I do have to hand it to Nokia. They made a decent run at it. The first iteration really blew. When Brian and I saw the thing at E3 we were like, "bleh". They had the guts to try again and the second version was a lot better. Yet people want to play game on their cell phones not place calls on their gaming handhelds. Nokia now admits this and has not focused its attention on entertainment software for its Series 60 phones. Good for them.
Whether you think the shortages are real or fabricated there is not a Xbox 360 to be had for love or money today in Manhattan. It is completely miserable out. The weather report says raining, 42° F 10 mph winds gusting to 35mph. It felt quite a bit more inclimate trudging around NYC this morning. I am wet, cold and completely Xbox 360less. I must say I am a little disappointed in myself. I wasn't willing to wait around in lines for hours so by the time I typically showed up the it was mathematically impossible for me to get one. Best Buy closed their line at 3:30PM yesterday. Virgin sold out last night as well. I saw people waiting in line at 11:30PM last night for CompUSA which wouldn't open for another 8 hours or so. The J and R line was closed when I showed up this morning. Hopefully this is just some ploy of Microsoft and there is some container ship filled with millions of Xbox 360 just waiting out in international waters. Moments after the last news item airs about Xbox 360 shortages the ship US [email protected] registered out of Monrovia Liberia docks in the port of New York and floods the tri-state area with Xbox 360s. I can then go buy one like a civilized human being at the retailer of my choice. I guess Brian was playing his until 5AM. He called me this morning and basically laughed in my face.
150 miles to Wal-Mart, half a tank of gas, wearing sunglasses and it's dark.
From Brian 3:30 AM CDT, "So after 150 miles of driving and 4 hours waiting in line, I was about 3 people short of getting the premium system, they sold out.
Not wanting to go home empty handed, I got one of the core systems. Kinda sucks, but I'm still really excited that I managed to get my hands on one. The line at Walmart easily got to 100 people, and would have been longer if there were more than 44 systems to sell. The 360 comes with a massive 200w external power adapter. The unit itself is also really heavy again. It didn't come with an s-video cable, just composite. I'll end up buying a wireless controller, hard drive and hd av cable and spend more than the 399 system in the process, but oh well. I don't really give a rats ass about the xbox live right now or the dvd remote.
They didn't have Gun or CoD2, which were both games I wanted -- I
guess they are coming in over the weekend. I ended up getting
Madden, Kameo and Perfect Dark. I played Kameo for about 15 minutes, and I've got to say, even over composite video, the graphics are pretty stunning.
So XBox 360 launches is just a few more hours. Why is it that I never pre-order anything? I mean I know I want it. MobyGames is not a preview and review, some less generous people may say "hype", site so the Microsoft PR and marketing people are loath to send us a press unit. Plus I would have to send the unit back and I am not so sure I could do that. I was able to get a PSP on launch day so maybe my luck will hold out. Most retailers in Manhattan are not staying open late. A few are open and my initial estimation is that they are going to be completely mobbed. The Times Square Toys-R-Us is right across the street from my office, but you would have to have completely lost your mind to wait in that line. There is a 24 hour Wal-Mart about 45 miles away, but I am not so sure I want to drive all the way out there. I figure I will go have a couple beers and see if any of the other retailers look reasonable. If not I guess I will be waiting for the doors to open at the J and R bright and early in the morning. In other news Xbox 360 support on MobyGames will "launch" right along with the console. For those of you lucky enough to grab a system warm up those scanners. We will be accepting new Xbox 360 game entries in only a few more hours.
Now I am sure you have already read about the Sony DRM stuff. What amazes me is how undeniably dumb they were. I firmly believe in intellectual property rights. Heck MobyGames has taken close to seven years to build and costs quite a bit of money to run. Every once in a while some jerk comes along and tries to steal the data. Thankfully between a little legal help and the support of the MobyGames community they see the error of their ways. I also think Sony is a pretty good company. I used to work there. I still own a pitiful amount of their stock. I play their games. However someone really stepped in it when they thought it would be a good idea to steal someone else's IP, install spyware and a rootkit on their customers computers then try to hide the fact that they are doing anything bad. All I have to say is ... "wow".
We hit 1000 ZX Spectrum titles in the database. In a little under a year after the platform was added you managed on contributing over 1000 titles. The history of the Speccy is a little weird. Having grown up in the States we had little notion this popular personal computer really even existed. At one point frustrated Moby users even posted an online petition to "Persuade MobyGames.com to add the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer". Well in late 2004 we listened and added the platform. Now MobyGames hit the proud 1000 mark. All thanks to you. There are still a few platforms not yet supported. The Apple Macintosh is perhaps the most noteworthy undocumented system at present, although the Atari 8-bit family and BBC Micro are also absent. It takes a fair amount of research to design the necessary framework in the database for an additional system. If you are an expert MobyGames could use your help and your knowledge would greatly benefit gamers everywhere. Please drop us a note.
Brian and I just got back from vgXpo in Philly. Now that CGExpo is taking a one year hiatus we are starting to look around at different shows next year to fill the void. I have to say I was really impressed with what I saw. I guess the Dallas show had mixed reviews, but everyone I talked to was really digging the Philly show. We ran into Tommy Tallarico I have to say that guy is cool. He totally gets MobyGames and is a big supporter and believer in the project. It sucks that Video Games Live had to get scaled down. However there is going to be a show this summer at the Hollywood Bowl. I would definitely fly out to LA to attend *hint* *hint*. The RedOctane guys were also there demoing Guitar Hero. Needless to say Brian and I each picked up a copy. Last night we along with a whole bunch of friends shredded and thrashed until the neighbors threatened to call the cops in the wee hours of the morning. There were a fair amount of indy games and game demos being exhibited along with a lot of classic games to be purchased. All and all we had a great time and are looking for to the next show.
I've put out an update to fix bugs that got introduced during the last release. All of the reported problems with the last release have been fixed. I did manage to slip in a new feature that's testing out some technology that we might start using elsewhere on the site if this works out. You can now list the games that you are currently playing on your account page. I've set mine up, and you can check it out here. The autocomplete technology that we're testing out works with IE6, Safari 2.x, Firefox 1.0 and Opera 8.x. To edit your playlist, click 'edit playlist' on your account page. Happy gaming!
Brian and I are back from Austin Game Conference. Work of course has piled up and we are slowly getting back in the swing of things. I have to say I really liked AGC. The conference is rather intimate and low key while at the same time well attended. We got to talk with a lot of great people. Conferences are so very exhausting however and we are glad to be back. I think we are going to make much more of an effort to attend and exhibit at these shows. I think we are too late for some of the conferences coming up in November and December. However next year we plan on attending at the very least some of the shows in Europe and Australia. If you live in that part of the world keep your eyes peeled. We would love to hang out with some of the international MobyGames crew.