Sony to Stick to Non-Unified Online Strategy[ps3]
Numerous sources are reporting on a story in the latest issue of Official PlayStation Magazine, revealing that Sony will be sticking to its guns and not providing a central online service for its next-generation PlayStation 3 console. The strategy is the same that it employed with the PS2, which required each publisher to set up its own online account system. Sony cited freedom for developers and publishers as a significant reason for the renewed decision. This is, of course, a markedly different approach than that taken by Microsoft with its much-lauded Xbox Live service, about to go into its second incarnation with the launch of Xbox 360. Nintendo, too, will be providing a central online gaming service with its Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, a service which launches November 14 for Nintendo DS and at a later date for Nintendo Revolution.
The news comes as little surprise, as Sony officials have over the last several months suggested on multiple occasions they would choose to pursue a similar route to that of PS2.
Sony has reason to believe its online strategy is worth keeping; PS2's online services had more registered users than Xbox Live did in this generation. However, this is largely due to the PS2's overwhelming higher install base than either of its two competitors. Proportionally speaking, Xbox had a better overall online adoption percentage, with estimates suggesting that about 10% of Xbox owners played on Xbox Live. It is also worth noting that Sony's online option is free at the basic level, allowing publishers to set their own charges if desired, whereas Xbox Live charges a monthly fee.
In any case, each of the three companies is taking a very different approach to online in the next generation: Sony, with a completely unregulated system, Microsoft, with a paid and heavily regulated system, and Nintendo, with a free and regulated system.
DS to Train Your Brain, Nintendo to Make Games[ds]
For those of you hoping to finally see what all the fuss is about regarding Nintendo's Brain Training (DS) software, which owned the sales charts for months in Japan and along with Nintendogs (DS) helped the sales of Nintendo's portable greatly, you're in luck. Nintendo will be translating Brain Training as well as the followup Brain Flex (DS) will be localized for North America and Europe. The titles, particularly popular with adult users, contain a plethora of increasingly difficult mini-games designed to stimulate and "exercise" the mind. It appears people are quite into it.
There is currently no release date for the software.
Nintendo also updated its release list for the next several months to include dates for such titles as the real-time strategy/pinball/hamburger title Yoot Saito's Odama (GCN) (seriously, you guys have to see this), Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS), Super Princess Peach (DS), Tales of Phantasia (GBA), and True Swing Golf (DS).
Famicom GBA Micro to Hit US[gba]
Nintendo's outspoken executive marketing VP Reggie Fils-Aimes confirmed today that the company will be bringing its Famicom-styled Game Boy Micro to the US (and, presumably, the rest of North America?) on November 28. The unit, which will be called the 20th Anniversary Edition Game Boy Micro, is by far and away the best-selling version of the console in Japan, accounting for fully 60% of Micro sales in that country when the machine launched in September.
The package will retail for $99.99, like its solid-color brethren, and will also include a $10 voucher towards the purchase of certain GBA titles.
Japanese Pop Star to Sing Dirge[ps2]
It seems that a Japanese pop singer known as Gackt (he claims his full name is Camui M. S. Gackt, and that he was born July 4, 1540, though we're not sure his bank would agree) will not only be performing a song in Square Enix's upcoming Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2), he will actually appear in the game along with vampiric main character Vincent Valentine. The game is just one of several recently released or announced spin-offs of Square's classic Final Fantasy VII (PS1). This one takes place about a year after the events of the recently released in Japan CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and is apparently a gun-oriented action RPG, in keeping with its lead character. The scene featuring Mr. Valentine and Mr. Gackt will apparently combine live action footage with CGI.
Dirge of Cerberus is expected to ship some time in 2006.
IGN has a paraphrased interview from Japanese publication Dorimaga with Sega designer Yu Suzuki, head of the new AM Plus dev studio.
If there's anything that makes me want to buy a video game console, it's people jumping rope.
IGN checks out Media.Vision's Wild ARMs -- Alter Code F (PS2).
Movies: Dead or Alive 4 (X360).
IGN goes hands on with Nintendo's Mario Kart DS (and so do 1UP and GameSpot). GameSpy checks out Sonic Team's Sonic Rush (DS). IGN takes a look at Nintendo's Metroid Prime Hunters (DS) and Brain Flex (DS).
Screenshots: Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS). Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble (DS). Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (DS). Tony Hawk's American Sk8land (DS, also GBA). True Swing Golf (DS). Electroplankton (DS). The Hustle: Detroid Streets (PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Batman Returns for the SegaCD. "I loved the driving segments in this game. Very well done...shame about the rest of the game." (submitted by Silent Wolf)