Oh, and if you want to rant about the Revolution's rechristening as Wii, which is an entirely understandable thing to rant about, please do so in the official thread. It's still going strong, and if possible I'd really like to keep LNC focused around other discussion, since we've already got a nice rant depository. Thanks!
Nintendo Exhibits Questionable Marketing Judgment[nintendo]
As you probably noticed earlier today, Nintendo has finally unveiled the name of its upcoming next-generation system, previously codenamed Revolution. The new moniker? The curt and vaguely childish Wii, pronounced "we." Nintendo made the announcement via a flash animation on its official site. Intended to be easy to remember and pronounce in countries around the world, the name also uses the visual appearance of the two "i" letters to suggest the shape of its unique controllers and the phenomenon of people coming together to interact. It breaks a trend with past Nintendo consoles, forgoing the company's iconic name in favor of a shorter brand; that means it's not "Nintendo Wii," it's just "Wii."
Not surprisingly, there has been widespread reaction--largely negative--to the name on the part of journalists and gamers across the internet. CNN/Money's Chris Morris spoke with Nintendo marketing VP Perrin Kaplan in his Game Over column. Kaplan explained the reasoning behind the name, and noted that one reason for unveiling the new name now rather than during the upcoming E3 is to ensure that showgoers are entirely focused on the games. A certain Shacknews editor is also quoted with his reaction.
You know, Wii is sort of a nice-looking word. The problem is, at some point you'll actually have to say it out loud. I'm not going to bother because you're surely clever enough to make them yourself, but suffice to say--what were they thinking? It's hard to really rank it against past gaffes like Gizmondo and ApeXtreme (which its creators insist is pronounced "Apex Extreme" instead of what it actually looks like). What basis for comparison is there when they're all so mind-boggling? I mean, really, almost all console names have been pretty goofy--Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Mega Drive, 3DO, even PlayStation. Still, Wii...!?
Again, though, please keep discussion in the thread.
EA Announces Madden Wii, Wii Dev Group[nintendo]
Speaking to development-focused site Gamasutra as well as GameSpot, Electronic Arts has revealed the creation of an internal studio at EA Canada that will focus exclusively on development for Wii, aka Nintendo Revolution. The first game out will be a Madden title, something that almost goes without saying on any new major platform. EA's John Schappert, former head of EA Tiburon (originally Tiburon Entertainment) and current head of EA Canada, commented on the studio and its first announced game. Interestingly, he noted that the game is not a port; rather, it is being created for a ground up to take advantage of the platform's unique control system. "I don't think a winning approach on the Revolution is to port games to it, and I don't think you'll see us taking that approach," he explained to Gamasutra. "I think that approach will yield inferior software for the Revolution, and I don't think publishers will be rewarded for that." Speaking on the impetus for a specialized team, Schappert said, "Once you go on hands-on with demos, you walk away and you're smiling and you're giddy like a schoolkid talking about it for the rest of the day. Which is why after we saw it we realized that to fully maximize that machine we needed to create a group just focused on Revolution." Not surprisingly, he also indicated that other EA franchises will be making their way to the machine.
GameSpot's interview goes more into game itself. It seems to be controlled gesturally for the most part, with motions intended to correlate more closely to what's happening onscreen than in most sports games. Much like the statements made by Ubisoft designers working on the previously announced Red Steel, Schappert described how the team has spent a great deal of time simply trying out various gestures and control methods to determine which are the most enjoyable and appropriate.
EA Canada's Madden NFL (Wii) does not yet have a release date. The game will be playable at E3 2006.
Raven Returns to Superheroes[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Activision has announced Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, an upcoming action/RPG title based on the Marvel superhero universe and containing "the largest roster of comic book characters ever seen in a video game." Over 140 Marvel characters will be represented in various capacities, about twenty of which are playable. Fans of the X-Men Legends games will be happy to hear that series creator Raven Software is handling the game's development. Marvel Mangaverse scribe C.B. Cebulski will be lending a hand in the creation of the game's storyline and dialogue. Similarly, Activision sought out noted X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont to work on the upcoming X-Men: The Official Game. - Screenshots.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance ships this fall for all current- and next-gen home consoles and portables.
Sega Champions, Challenges Pool[ps2] [psp]
Sega made the third of its daily E3 game announcements at midnight last night, and this time they knocked off two at once: World Pool Championship 2007 for PlayStation 2, and World Pool Challenge 2006 for PSP, both developed by UK pool veterans Blade Interactive. "Pool is a classic game that a wide variety of audiences can identify with," said Sega's Scott A. Steinberg. "With a host of exciting new modes and features, both World Pool Championship 2007 and World Pool Challenge 2007 will provide new avenues for virtual hustlers to rack 'em up." The games allow players to create their own pool pro and enter over ten licensed pool tournaments in a variety of game types such as eight-ball, nine-ball, and more.
World Pool Championship 2007 and World Pool Challenge 2007 ship this fall, and will be playable at E3.
Sony Reveals Year-End Financials[ps2] [psp]
Sony today revealed its financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006. In the fourth quarter, the electronics firm saw a net loss of $579M (66.5B yen), increasing the loss by 17.7% year over year. For the full fiscal year, however, the situation was somewhat different. It looks like the earlier part of the year made up for the fourth quarter, with Sony seeing profits of $1.08B (123.7B yen).
The generally profitable PlayStation division saw net income of $75.7M (8.7B yen), down a staggering 79.7% year over year. Much of the decline was attributed to R&D costs for the upcoming PlayStation 3, along with various other expenses involved with a console's launch. PlayStation 2 software sales were also down, but expenses were somewhat mitigated by PSP and the continuing strong hardware sales of PS2.
Microsoft Reveals Year-End Financials[xbox] [xbox360]
Microsoft also revealed its latest financial specs, though in its case they pertain to its third fiscal quarter, which ended March 31, 2006. The company saw quarterly profits of $2.98B on $10.9B in revenue, a 13% increase year over year. Revenue did not quite meet estimates, due in part to the continuing costly Xbox 360 launch. Related expenses, including the significant loss taken on the sale of each console, meant Microsoft's newly restructured Home and Entertainment division saw $1.06B in revenue but a loss of $388M for the quarter, up a striking 122% year over year. In addition to 360-related expenses, tapering sales of Halo 2 were actually a big contributor to the rising loss. Revenue in fiscal year 2005 saw a big boost from Bungie's blockbuster, but sales have of course slowed recent months, contributing less to Microsoft's bottom line. Microsoft expects the trend of increased loss to continue in the near future, but noted that 360 should see positive profit margins within its life cycle.
1UP takes a look at the, uh, classic Philips CI-i, which just hit its 15th anniversary.
IGN previews Monolith Soft's Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2).
Screenshots: Chromehounds (X360).
Movies: Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (X360).
Screenshots: Children of Mana (DS). Final Fantasy III (DS). Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS). Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP). HOT PXL (PSP). The Legend of Heroes II: The Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP). Final Fantasy V (GBA). Final Fantasy VI (GBA).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Magic Knight Rayearth for the Sega Saturn. "Wonderful game localized by Working Designs. Gameplay was similar to Zelda. It included nice anime cutscenes, a good storyline, and near the end featured some shooter (e.g. like Legendary Wings) gameplay." (submitted by OpTiMaLhUnTeR)