PS3 Still Probably Pretty Expensive[ps3]
Good old Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, has been warning gamers for a while now that the PS3 will be a rather pricey affair, at one point even claiming that gamers might want to work a few extra hours to save up. While his statements might be a bit extreme, it's safe to assume that Sony won't be undercutting its competitors by all that much. CNN/Money's Chris Morris spoke to a few industry members and analysts about what the mysterious price point could be. He seems to be betting on $499, a $100 premium over Microsoft's machine, but the estimates he received were anywhere from a competitive $399 to a frightening $700. However, the $399 was hypothesized only by one source, and the $700 figure came with admissions that it's an unlikely sum.
To be sure, there are some expensive components in the PS3. Parts like the Cell processor surely aren't cheap, but even if everything in the machine is on par cost-wise with the Xbox 360, there's still the issue of the Blu-ray drive. First generation Blu-ray drives have been quoted at about $1,800, so even if the production cost is only a small fraction of that, it's pretty strong evidence that Sony might be taking the biggest loss per console of the next generation, even if PS3 ends up with the biggest price tag.
That's one of the things that makes it so hard to estimate how much the PS3 will cost to consumers: we know Sony's going to have to take a huge loss no matter what, so it's really up to them how much they feel they can afford. As a company, Sony's in financial trouble, but the PlayStation division is one of the few groups making money. They can definitely stand to throw away a few bucks for every box.
New Far Cries For Xboxes[xbox360] [xbox]
Each of the two Xbox systems is getting a new Far Cry game this year, even with Far Cry Instincts, the Xbox adaptation of the original Far Cry (PC), only appearing last September.
Xbox will see the next chapter in the Instincts franchise, bringing "an entirely new story, characters and game features" to the table. The game has a working title of Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter.
Xbox 360 will get Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter as well. It will be packaged with an updated version of the original Far Cry Instincts and sold as Far Cry Instincts Predator. The 360 version of Instincts will feature various improvements besides the obvious graphical ones, including such additions as new enemy AI and a greater number of enemies on screen.
Both games are in development by Ubisoft's Montreal Studio, and will ship some time this Spring.
True Crime and Gun to be Ended?[ps2] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube]
Like most other major publishers in the industry these days, Activision is certainly not one to shy away from making as many sequels as possible out of successful franchises. However, two of its current properties, Luxoflux's True Crime and Neversoft's Gun might not be receiving further iterations, according to GameSpot's "anonymous source with close ties to the Southern California game-development community." Despite the success of the previous True Crime game, Streets of L.A. (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PC), the sequel True Crime: New York City (PS2, Xbox, GCN, PC) fell flat at retail. Neversoft's Gun (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, PC), a new franchise, did better but still failed to compare to other releases at the time. Unsurprisingly, Activision did not choose to comment.
If I had to take a guess, I'd say there's a higher chance of Activision giving Gun another shot than True Crime. Whereas True Crime occupies a fairly crowded genre--the urban crime setting--Gun's western backdrop is a little more unique and the game feels like it has some potential.
Frame City Killer Running Late[xbox360]
Cowabunga[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
In the video game world, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is practically synonymous with Konami. The company's 1989 TMNT arcade game surely consumed more than a few quarters from this site's readers over the years. However, when deciding on the company to take charge of games based on the Turtles' upcoming CGI feature length film, due in 2007, the license holders opted to go with Ubisoft. The upcoming film, and thus the game(s), will be based not on phenominally popular 1987 cartoon series but rather on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original 1984 independent comic. The press release claims this will lead to a "grittier" film, though like the prior films will receive a PG rating. Expect an E or E10+ for the game(s).
Partially based on the reception to Michel Ancel's recent King Kong video game adaptation, Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot recently stated that he'd like to see film to game adaptations make up 25% of the company's revenue.
Japan's Game Sales in 2005[ps2] [xbox360] [xbox] [gamecube] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Famitsu, whose parent company Enterbrain tracks Japanese video game and console sales data, released the overall 2005 sales results. Software sales saw a slight decline from the previous year, consistent with the gradually slowing Japanese games market over the last several years, but hardware sales were up 47% largely due to strong performance of the new DS and PSP. DS sold the strongest, with over 4 million units reported. This was followed by PSP with 2.2 million units and PS2 with 2.1 million units. Sales for Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and Xbox 360 were not quoted, but they probably followed in basically that order. Xbox headed up the rear with 13,186. Assuming that Xbox sales have essentially ended in Japan, that gives the console a total of just under half a million sales since launch.
In terms of games, the top 10 was unsurprisingly dominated by PS2 and DS, with 4 and 6 games on the list respectively. The top seller of the year was Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS) at 1.17M sales, an impressive feat considering it came out towards the end of 2005. The next game on the top 10 was Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) with 1.07M units. Nintendogs (DS) was #4, Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II (PS2) was #9, and Mario Kart DS #10. Overall, Nintendo ended up on the top of the publisher heap with 19 of the top selling games and 11 million sales (not including Pokemon, which adds another 2 million), followed by Bandai with 11 titles and 4.5 million. Square Enix had the third highest number of top 100 titles with 9, and Konami had the third highest number of games sold at 5.1 million.
The results technically go from 12/27/04 to 12/25/05, so some of the results ended up a bit inaccurate. For example, Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) sales were inflated a bit since the game came out in the last few days of 2004, and DS hardware and certain games (such as Animal Crossing) are underrepresented since they saw strong sales in the last week of 2005.
Why's it Gotta Be Black?[ps2] [xbox]
Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine takes a look at the best 100 games from the PlayStation family of systems over the years.
GameSpot checks out Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2).
Screenshots: Drakengard II (PS2).
GameSpot goes hands on with T&E Soft's True Swing Golf (DS) and has a look at Kush Games' PSP version of Major League Baseball 2K6 (PSP, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360) and Capcom's Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX (PSP). IGN previews Team17's Worms: Open Warfare (DS, also PSP).
Movies: Worms: Open Warfare (DS, PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
The New Tetris for the Nintendo 64. "The four-man multiplayer modes coupled with the unique and revised scoring system made this the best Tetris title hands down." (submitted by Ajax)