Xbox Live? More Like PlayStation Life Lol[ps3]
An article entitled "PlayStation Live? Try PlayStation Life" in the March issue of (unofficial) PlayStation Magazine claims that Sony will be launching a full unified online service with PS3. This is in line with recent rumors stemming from a Sony marketing survey regarding online gaming, and runs contrary to reports in November from Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine stating that Sony would be sticking to its non-unified online guns a la PS2. Sony officials had also indicated the non-unified direction in the months following E3.
This PSM report is in stark contrast to Sony's last officially stated position. PSM's source was quoted as saying that Sony has in fact been working on this service for years, beginning as soon as the PS2 network adapter was launched. That would mean it's been in production since three months before Xbox Live even launched in November 2002. The source noted that Sony is launching "a 'full-on assault' on the latest version of Xbox Live." The cited reason it wasn't rolled out in the current generation is because Sony realized it had "too little, too late," so apparently it was worked on for over three years instead. The service would also integrate PSP.
PSM claims its source is a U.S. game developer in posession of PS3 hardware, speaking on condition of anonymity. In addition to the quoted source, PSM claims it spoke with "several" other PS3 developers.
With the survey and now this, it's easy to believe that Sony is working on a large scale online service. The company is also known for its aggressive nature in terms of keeping ahead of the competition and coming off as the premium brand in its fields, and the lack of a Live-like service would certainly be perceived as a shortcoming compared to Xbox 360, even if gamers who go online make up a minority of the overall install base. Have they actually been working on it for three years, though? That's slightly harder to believe, given Sony's repeated insistence that the company was pursuing the exact opposite strategy. If true, it seems more likely that development began, then came up short, then restarted after the proven success of Xbox Live.
Of course, there has still been no official confirmation one way or the other. As with so many other many other next gen inquiries, the answer might simply be, "Wait until E3."
Driver Skidding Onto PSP[psp]
I learned from a well-placed and reputable source today that the PSP will be getting a version of the next game in Reflections' Driver franchise. Reflections is currently working on Driver: Parallel Lines for PS2 and Xbox, but the PSP version of the game is being handled by Sumo Digital. Sumo handled the Xbox port of Sega's OutRun2, and is also currently developing a PSP iteration of that franchise. Let it not be said that the PSP lacks racing games.
Unlike the hugely-hyped but critically savaged (and regrettably named) Driv3r (PS2, Xbox, GBA, PC), Driver: Parallel Lines has received comparably little hype from publisher Atari. The game is expected this March. My source described Sumo's PSP version as being more car-focused than its more GTA-esque home console brethren. He seemed to think that the game could use some improvement from its current state, but also has some confidence in the studio based on its work on OutRun2. Obviously, no release date for the PSP version is available.
Frame City Killer Still Freshening Up[xbox360]
IGN has translated parts of a Famitsu interview with Kentaro Kawashima and Masaki Kunimori, producer and director respectively on Namco's Frame City Killer. They explain why the assassin-centric action/adventure was delayed past its original February release date, stating that they're still working to exploit the Unreal Engine 3 to its fullest. IGN points out that were the game still on track for February, it would have been the first shipping Unreal Engine 3-powered game. The developers are quick to note that the production delays, which largely fall on the game's currently lackluster visuals, are not any fault of the engine itself but merely part of adapting to the new technology. Oddly enough, the team also seems to be considering a surprising number of additional features given how late in development the game is; Kunimori mentioned the possibility of additional side missions, and even a previously unplanned online component.
Burnout Revenge 360 Dated, Downloads Offered[xbox360]
The Xbox 360 version of Criterion's Burnout Revenge has received an official release date today. The game will hit shelves March 7, and until that date gamers can visit retail stores (the press release offers some examples: Best Buy, GameStop, Wal-Mart, Target, Game Crazy, Circuit City, and Best Buy) to download an Xbox 360-themed car, dashboard theme, and gamer pic. You'll need to have a memory card, which is inserted into an Xbox 360 kiosk at the retailer to receive the goods. Of course, one wonders who actually owns a 360 memory card? In years of owning an Xbox, I never had a memory card for it. That said, if you're a huge Burnout fan who has a card or doesn't mind picking one up, you can get some free stuff. Pictures of the themed car are here.
Players Choose Resident Evil 4[gamecube]
As one of the best-reviewed games of 2005 and one of the bestselling GameCube titles of 2005, Capcom's Resident Evil 4 (GCN, also PS2) has been added to the repertoire of Nintendo's Player's Choice games on the Cube. This brings the game's price point down to $19.99 and really gives you no excuse at all not to own it if you don't already. I mean, come on now.
Remember that fake CG video about the hypothetical Nintendo ON? Its creator, Pablo Belmonte, has returned with a new gaming-related video project: a parody of Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The tagline, if you were wondering is "No place to hide; No place for Uwe Boll."
Screenshots: From Russia With Love (PSP, also PS2, Xbox, GCN).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Castlevania Chronicles for the PS1. "Awesome remake in the vein of the first Castlevania, and in the updated mode you get to play as a pink-haired Simon!" (submitted by Conan)