Microsoft Sails into Portable Gaming with Argo?[xbox] [xbox360]
Rumors of a portable gaming device from Microsoft have been flowing unabated since late last year, when it was speculated that Xbox co-founder J Allard may be at the helm of Microsoft's effort to challenge Apple's iPod as well as portable consoles from Nintendo and Sony with one device. Last week, news sources reported on alleged music capabilities and services that Microsoft may plan to offer. Today, The Seattle Times dug up some more details about the portable device, which is apparently codenamed Argo after Jason's mythological ship.
According to Seattle Times writer Brier Dudley, Argo will indeed be a gaming device and will make use of Microsoft's XNA standard, intended to streamline cross-platform game development--provided, of course, the platforms in question are from Microsoft. Argo will also reportedly have wi-fi capability out of the box, no surprise given the feature is standard in both Nintendo DS and PSP.
Dudley also claims that Argo is not one product, but rather an ambitious line of Xbox-branded portable electronic devices and software products. This would suggest that the alleged product shot revealed today most likely does not depict a gaming unit, with its vertically oriented screen and distinct shortage of buttons.
Interestingly, Microsoft has not shied away from the portable gaming arena. So far, the company has supported Nintendo portables by way of first and third party developers. Microsoft-owned Rare has announced its support for Nintendo DS, and Backbone Entertainment's upcoming DS title MechAssault: Phantom War is based on a Microsoft-owned property and branded with the Microsoft Game Studios logo. It is unknown how heavily Microsoft plans to invest in the portable market as a platform holder, whether the company will indeed target core gamers, or whether it attempt to make further inroads into the casual market as it has done with its Xbox Live Arcade and MSN Games brands.
Wii Chip Manufacturer Anticipates High Demand[nintendo]
According to translated reports from Taiwanese publication Commercial Times, the company manufacturing the motion sensing chip for Nintendo's upcoming Wii console, PixArt Imaging, expects shipments of the chip to hit a million units this August. ATI, which will be supplying the console's GPU, is also reporting increases in demand. These claims follow recent reports that Wii is already in production, and with part manufacturers ramping up production, the machine seems likely to have strong launch quantities when it is released this fall.
Guitar Hero to Get Nemesis?
It looks like music-loving publisher Konami may be gunning for some of the audience Harmonix has captured with its acclaimed Guitar Hero (PS2). The company recently obtained a trademark on the words "Guitar Revolution" relating to "video game software," suggesting rather strongly that the company plans to release its own home console six-string shredding software. Such a game would be nothing new for Konami, which released Guitar Freaks in arcades as part of its broad range of rhythm games. Guitar Hero is commonly seen as having been inspired by Guitar Freaks; some have said it took more than inspiration from Konami's 1999 title.
Konami has not made any official announcements regarding such a game, but it seems pretty straightforward. Expect some competition in the guitar-based console market in the near future. (Thanks GameSpot).
Gunpey Announced for North America[ds] [psp]
Last week, Japanese publication Famitsu revealed two upcoming music-based puzzle games from Q Entertainment and studio head Tetsuya Mizuguchi, both based on the WonderSwan puzzler Gunpey. Today, Namco Bandai Games announced that both titles, one for Nintendo DS and one for PSP, will be released in North America. Though the games are unique from one another and have different names for their Japanese releases, Namco Bandai here refers to both simply as "Gunpey." This may be a working title.
Project Sylph Becomes Project Sylpheed[xbox360]
Square Enix has launched the official site for its Xbox 360 game Project Sylph, and along with the site comes a new name: Project Sylpheed. The revised moniker confirms long held suspicions that the game is a new entry in Game Arts' space shooter franchise Silpheed--though it is still unclear why the "i" has become a "y." There isn't much to see on the site just yet, and there's even less to see if you don't speak Japanese. However, we do have some screenshots.
The latest edition in the series prior to the upcoming Xbox 360 game was Silpheed: The Lost Planet, a PS2 game developed by the 2D maestros at Treasure.
GameSpot has a Q&A with SCE WWS Japan Studio producer Hiroyuki Kotani and Hit Maker development director Bob Timbello on Hit Maker's upcoming Blade Dancer: Lineage of Light (PSP).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Soul of the Samurai for the PlayStation. "Presaging Onimusha, this mixed ronin, ninja, and demonic zombies in a Resident Evil/Bushido Blade-ish style engine. Timed counter attacks, specials, decent story. Simple but well done. Only flaw: skip logo/opening/reload after every death." (submitted by agsilva)