Sony today officially entered a new phase in the lifespan of the PlayStation 3 console by touting the PlayStation Move, a wireless motion-controlled device that rivals Nintendo’s Wiimote and Microsoft’s upcoming Project Natal.
Introduced at E3 2009 with the working title the PlayStation Wand, the PlayStation Move resembles a light-weight microphone with a colored crown. The PS3 manufacturer, which revealed the device at the Concourse Exhibition Center in downtown San Francisco, Ca., says it provides intuitive and accurate 1:1 response, and showed nine playable games that utilized the Move in a variety of ways ranging from the military shooter SOCOM 4 to sports, fighting, fantasy, party, and painting games.
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Re-entering the highly competitive “sandbox” crime genre made famous by Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, Activision today showed live gameplay footage of its reboot entrée, True Crime, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Many thought the series dead after a disappointing critical and fiscal second effort in 2006 with the second in the series, True Crime: New York. But Activision tapped United Front Games (maker of ModRacers). With former employees from Radical Games, EA’s Need for Speed franchise, and Rockstar Games, UFG has been in development with its own unique software tools to generate the third-person perspective, Hong Kong-based game.
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Well, this isn’t exactly mind blowing, but Rockstar released a new Red Dead Redemption video called “The Law.” Since I’m still betting on the notion that this will be a GTA in the Wild West (the idea that Rockstar has floated to the press), I’m still amped about its April 27 arrival.
But it could be a less than profitable bet. This this was far less impressive video than I was expecting. The video played really slowly on my computer, and I’m hoping that was my computer and not the actual game or framerate of the game. Otherwise, dear lord are we in trouble.
Also, a couple of non-deliberate instances made me laugh. Marshall Leigh Johnson says, “The man who kills the boss of that bunch gets $50!”
The boss of that bunch? What, is he like a Japanese video game character? And…$50???!!! That’s like one lunch in San Francisco. Not so compelling. I’d rather join the bad guys.
Agent Edgar Ross seems like a creep bad guy, but when you hear the line, “We’re the bad guys…” you kinda have to wonder, have they hired a new, young script-writer who secretly loved Young Guns? The language in this trailer just wasn’t all that impressive for a Rockstar game, and now I’m feeling a little less of the super hype and more of a grounded feeling.
Capcom today released the dates of its spring line-up, featuring Monster Hunter Tri, Lost Planet 2, Final Fight: Double Impact, and Super Street Fighter IV for North America and Europe.
Capcom hopes to replicate the popularity that Monster Hunter Tri had in Japan in the West on Nintendo’s Wii this April. Lost Planet 2 will arrive on PS3 and Xbox 360 in Europe and North America May 18, 2010. Final Fight: Double Impact will hit the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE as DLC sometime this spring, while Super Street Fighter IV will hit the consoles as a full retail game April 27, 2010.
Capcom is likely to announce new titles for later this year and 2011 at E3 this summer.
Frank N. Magid’s recent survey on gamers’ awareness of downloadable content is just another sign of a half-formed survey that tells only one side of the story. Not a surprise, since most focus tests use narrow techniques to answer specific questions. But the story on IGN and Edge explain it’s asking the wrong people playing the wrong systems. Most of the gamers surveyed were playing PS2 and Wii games. In the vernacular, “well, duh.”
DLC games have been booming since Microsoft introduced the console’s Xbox Live marketplace. Entire studios such as Chair have based their total focus on DLC, resulting in games such as the smart Undertow and the retro Shadow Complex. EA put Battlefield 1943 entirely on DLC, trimming out a single-player campaign and focusing entirely on multiplayer.
Analysts point to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV DLC as examples of how DLC doesn’t work, at least from a pure financial standpoint–Both The Damned and the Lost and The Ballad of Gay Tony didn’t make nearly as much as investors or analysts had hoped they would–but these were Rockstar’s first big attempts at substantial DLC, and while not homers, they certainly got to second base.
I swear, I’m going to conduct my own surveys, each one asking questions like, “Do you think Halo is awesome?” and I’ll make sure to ask only PlayStation 3 users. I’ll ask Nintendo fans “do they love that the Wii is in first place in the console race for the first time since the Super NES?” And then ask Bill Gates, “Have you ever played WOW or LittleBigPLanet?” just for fun. One last question will be aimed at young moms who just bought the Wii to workout; it will be, “How hardcore is Gear of War on a scale of 1 to 17?” Sounds scientific enough for me.
In the past, if a video game wasn’t selling well, there wasn’t much a publisher could do about it except slash the price. But in the age of web-connected game consoles, companies can try to juice sales by launching new downloadable content.
A case in point: Amid new NPD numbers indicating slowing sales of The Beatles Rock Band, Apple/MTV Games and Harmonix revealed today the availability of The Beatles’ Rubber Soul via download starting on December 15.
During Wednesday night’s charity event Umloud in San Francisco, John Drake, program manager for Rock Band Network, said that Harmonic and MTV are “very happy” with overall sales and DLC sales thus far, which he called “fairly impressive.” (But sales are nowhere near what was anticipated early on). Drake added he believes Rubber Soul, the third Beatles downloadable album — following Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — will be an interesting experiment.
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