Iwata Speaks of Revolution[nintendo]
This week has been strikingly devoid of wacky next generation news, but that changes tonight thanks to CNN/Money's Chris Morris. In his latest Game Over column, Morris speaks with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata about the company's upcoming console Revolution. While, predictably, few concrete details were revealed, Iwata did hint at some interesting possibilities.
- Iwata expressed dissatisfaction with the $60 figure that seems to have emerged as the de facto next generation price point. "In the US, we're going to see the next generation cost an awful lot," he said. "I really don't think that there's going to be a lot of acceptance by current customers of the $60 price tag. They may allow that for a limited number of premium titles." In terms of Nintendo software, he "cannot imagine any first party title could be priced for more than $50." Similarly, Microsoft's first party Xbox 360 software goes for $49.99 rather than the third party standard $59.99. The same price structure may emerge for Revolution, but it seems less likely given Iwata's feelings on the matter.
- Revolution's Virtual Console download service was also a topic of discussion. It is not yet entirely clear what methods will be available to owners to store the games that will be offered. It is already known that the system has 512MB of internal flash memory and a slot for standard SD cards to be used as storage, but Iwata also points to Revolution's USB ports, which mean that "practically any storage method can be used." It is also easy to imagine smaller games simply streaming to the console when needed and running from RAM. There may also be the option for players to download games for certain periods of time.
- Last week Iwata announced that Virtual Console will offer games from Sega Genesis and Hudson/NEC's TurboGrafx, but also suggested there might be more announcements in that vein. He unfortunately did not expand on that in this interview. He did, however, say, "A number of different publishers are now interested in participating in this virtual console system. As far as the details, though, I believe we will wait for another opportunity before discussing them."
- Finally, Iwata touched on in game advertising. He noted that he has been following those trends but does not believe players have the time or interest to pay attention to ads while gaming. While he did not rule out the possibility of Nintendo exploring such avenues at some point, he doesn't expect in game advertising to generate significant revenue for the industry.
And that about covers it. As usual...wait for E3.
Revolution Specs Uncovered?[nintendo]
Well what do you know, more Revolution news today! The always informed IGN Revolution has spoken to development sources about the Revolution's hardware specifications, which if true confirm that the console indeed will be significantly less powerful than Xbox 360 and PS3. The IBM-manufactured Broadway CPU will run at 729MHz compared to GameCube's 485MHz CPU. ATI's Hollywood GPU comes in at 243MHz compared to GameCube's 162MHz. The system has 88MB of system RAM plus a 3MB texture buffer on the GPU; GameCube had 40MB plus a 3MB buffer. There may or may not be an additional 14MB of extra D-RAM. The only verbatim quote from IGN's sources reads, "The external RAM can be accessed as quickly as the main RAM, which is a nice touch." The rest is paraphrased.
IGN points out that even with lower polygon counts than PS2 and Xbox, GameCube still produced top of the line graphical presentations such as Capcom's Resident Evil 4. While it seems quite unlikely that Revolution titles will be on the same graphical par with Sony and Microsoft's machines this time around, the company has repeatedly stated its aim to broaden the market through different methods--notably, the system's very unique controller--than those of the two other major console manufacturers.
My prediction: some very long and very heated discussion threads.
Xbox Live Marketplace Gets Some Updates[xbox360]
A multiplayer demo of the 360 version of Digital Illusion's Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (PS2, Xbox, X360) was added to Xbox Live Marketplace today. It clocks in at 328MB, surprisingly small compared to many previous Live demos, some of which surpass a gigabyte.
Xbox Live's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb also noted that today several additions to the Xbox 360's Xbox backwards compatibility went live. It's proof that Microsoft's backwards compatibility team has been working, but it seems like they've been working more on fixing previously added titles than adding new ones. Three new games were added--Criteron's Black, Pandemic's Star Wars Battlefront II, and Konami's World Soccer Winning Eleven 9--but the majority of the update came in the form of twelve revisions. The improved games are High Moon's Darkwatch, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Valve's Half-Life 2, Lionhead's Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters, Microsoft Game Studios' Forza Motorsport, Team NINJA's Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black, EA Canada's SSX 3, Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Namco's kill.switch, and Blue Shift's World Series Baseball 2K3.
Down Under, Xbox 360 is On Top[xbox360]
Microsoft released its Xbox 360 in Australia last week, and the four month delay from the rest of the "worldwide" launch didn't seem to stem consumers' interest in the machine. In its first four days, 30,000 units were sold, a third of which were purchased at midnight the day of release. This gives the console the record for fastest selling console launch in Australia, beating out the PSP's previous record of 27,000 from last September. Gamers picked up 2.6 titles per console, compared with a 3.9 tie ratio in North America. Unsurprisingly, the "vast majority" of sales were of the hard drive-equipped bundle.
Australia has traditionally been a strong market for Microsoft. In the PS2/Xbox/GCN generation, Xbox saw market shares reach up to 40%, making the territory Microsoft's most successful in terms of market share.
King of Fighters Goes Maximum Impact[ps2]
SNK Playmore officially announced The King of Fighters 2006, the latest in its twelve year old fighting series. The game will be an original title for PS2 rather than an arcade port. Interesting, the announcement notes that KOF 2006 is actually a sequel to The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact, SNK's first attempt at a 3D fighter. This may be a sticking point for some fans. Previously, KOF titles have been in 2D. The game will contain characters from Maximum Impact as well as additional unlockable characters. Well known SNK artist Falcoon will be overseen production. - Press release.
HM-Fusion has part one of an interview with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GCN) director Eiji Aonuma about the upcoming title.
GameSpot looks at what we know about the Nintendo Revolution.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Shining in the Darkness for the Sega Genesis. "The complicated maps required you to buy a game guide. I can't believe I eventually beat it." (submitted by kinnoch)