Sony Announces Some Things[ps3]
Sony Computer Entertainment head Ken Kutaragi delivered his Tokyo Game Show keynote today. Kutaragi spent much of his time speaking about various developments in the communications and tech industries and how PlayStation 3 may tie into them at some point. He also indicated that PS3 will feature a Global Mapping System, allowing users to share pictures and other materials, and that this GMS may some day allow developers to share ideas of works in progress and get feedback from consumers. As far as more concrete PS3 details, Kutaragi announced that PS3 will be able to download (or stream, depending on which report you read) PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games. Similarly, PS3 will play titles from Mega Drive (Sega Genesis) and PC Engine (TurboGrafx) consoles; these two systems are also part of Nintendo's Virtual Console plans. No specific games were announced.
In a post-keynote question and answer session, Kutaragi made some more surprising announcements. After asking the audience if it wished the lower-end 20GB PS3 model would include HDMI, Kutaragi revealed that it in fact will. In Japan, the 20GB model will be getting a price drop from its original 59,800 yen ($509.72) price; the system will now be priced for an unspecified amount under 50,000 yen ($426.15). Sony did not announce any such change for other territories.
Microsoft Confirms Refund on Replaced 2005 Xbox 360s[xbox360]
Yesterday, posts started occurring on forums such as those on Xbox.com indicating that Microsoft plans to offer some kind of free warranty for Xbox 360 units manufactured in 2005. Throughout the day, calls to Microsoft support employees only confused the matter, as some denied the program, some confirmed it, and some seemed just as confused as those inquiring. Eventually, company representatives indicated that Microsoft is indeed launching a program along those lines. The company later issued an official statement clarifying the situation and perhaps admitting that Xbox 360 error rates have been higher than previously acknowledged.
As part of our standard and ongoing process of analyzing repair data, we recently noticed a higher than usual number of units coming in for repair. Upon further investigation, it was further discovered that the bulk of the units were isolated to a group that was part of the initial manufacturing run of the console. Returns for repair are coming in for a variety reasons and it's a higher rate than we are satisfied with. We've made the decision to comp repairs for consoles manufactured before January 1, 2006, and provide refunds to the small group of customers who have already paid for repairs.
It is unclear how long owners of such systems will be able to take advantage of the offer. More details are likely to be forthcoming. Microsoft's Xbox support line is 1-800-4MY-XBOX.
The Ant Commandos Counter-Sues Activision/RedOctane[ps2]
Peripheral manufacturer The Ant Commandos, which was recently sued by Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane and parent company Activision for infringing upon Guitar Hero copyrights with its alternative guitar controller, today announced that it has filed a counter claim against the two companies. Not only does The Ant Commandos deny infringing upon RedOctane's copyrights, it states that RedOctane's Guitar Hero SG controller is in fact based on a controller created in 1999 by Topway Electrical Appliance, a partial owner of The Ant Commandos.
Shacknews contacted The Ant Commandos for clarification. In 1999, Topway patented the Magical Guitar controller, intended for use with Konami's Guitar Freaks (PS1) game. In 2001 and 2004, according to a The Ant Commandos representative, the CEO of RedOctane visited Topway's China-based factory and inspected various aspects of the controller's design, allegedly commenting on its five-button neck design. Between 2002 and 2004, RedOctane apparently purchased several hundred of Topway's Magical Guitar controllers. Last year, RedOctane released its own SG controller for Harmonix's Guitar Hero (PS2), which it also published. "It has an almost identical neck to the Magical Guitar controller," said the TAC rep, "in terms of the number of fret buttons, button colors, and layout." Shacknews was also provided with a photograph of the Magical Guitar, which indeed bears a strong resemblance to RedOctane's controller. Konami's own Guitar Freaks controller released the same year uses only three fret buttons; Topway's uses five, as does RedOctane's newer controller. The Ant Commandos stated that Konami has never taken any sort of legal action against it or Topway.
The Ant Commandos has filed for a preliminary injunction against Activision and RedOctane demanding that the companies cease the sale of their Guitar Hero bundle, and instead sell the Guitar Hero game and controller separately, so that consumers "may purchase the game and have their choice on which controller to buy."
Microsoft Clarifies Xbox 360 1080p Capabilities[xbox360]
Microsoft has clarified some confusion regarding its upcoming HD-DVD attachment and 1080p support. Yesterday, the company announced that its HD-DVD drive would output HD-DVD movies in 1080p, and also revealed that an upcoming patch for Xbox 360 will allow the machine to output 1080p movie and game content. Today, it was confirmed that the HD-DVD drive will indeed support 1080p, but only via VGA and not via component cables. As previously known, neither the attachment nor the Xbox 360 console supports HDMI. 1080i resolution will be supported via component. The Xbox 360 console itself will display 1080p game content, either upscaled from 720p or rendered natively in 1080p, via component or VGA cables. DVD content from Xbox 360 will continue to be limited to 480p with component. Microsoft also indicated that it does not plan on creating games in 1080p, though it is an option for third party developers.
Sony's Karraker Slams MS' HD-DVD[ps3] [xbox360]
Following Microsoft's recent announcements regarding its HD-DVD drive and support for 1080p video, Sony Computer Entertainment America PR head Dave Karraker issued a statement regarding Microsoft's approach to high-definition video:
It's unfortunate that Microsoft's external HD-DVD drive will not enhance the experience at all for the gamer. Sony realizes that to truly take gaming into the next generation requires a larger data format for both games and movies. PS3 uses the Blu-ray format for gaming, giving developers 50 GB of high-definition storage on a single disc, while Microsoft's 9 GB DVD gaming format is an obstacle for storing HD content. Furthermore, Microsoft's announced HD games patch is really just a compatibility feature--upscaling lower-resolution content does not make it Full HD (1080p), something that PS3 can do out of the box.
Viva Pinata is Special[xbox360]
Microsoft today announced that Rare's Viva Pinata (X360) will have a Special Edition version available for a limited time upon the game's release this November. The double disc set will include an episode from the Viva Pinata animated television series, a demo of Traveller's Tales' LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, and demos of several Xbox Live Arcade titles: Frogger, Cloning Clyde, Time Pilot, and Marble Blast (presumably Ultra). The set will be available for $49.99.
1UP chats with Konami's Koji Igarashi about the Castlevania producer's plans for the series' future.
IGN has an interview with Ubisoft designer Fabrice Cuny on the recently announced Far Cry Vengeance (Wii).
GameZone checks out BEC's Eureka Seven Vol. 1: The New Wave (PS2).
Armored Core 4 (PS3, also X360).
Blade Storm: Hundred Years War (PS3).
Coded Arms Assault (PS3).
Devil May Cry 4 (PS3).
Enchanted Arms (PS3, also X360).
The Eye of Judgment (PS3).
Fatal Inertia (PS3).
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3).
flOw (PS3, also PC).
Formula One 06 (PS3).
Genji Days of the Blade (PS3).
Gran Turismo HD (PS3).
Heavenly Sword (PS3).
Hot Shots Golf (working title) (PS3).
Mah-Jong Fight Club Online (PS3).
Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3).
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire (PS3).
Monster Kingdom: Unknown Realms (PS3).
Need for Speed Carbon (PS3, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, Wii, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC).
Ninja Gaiden Sigma (PS3).
Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3).
Ridge Racer 7 (PS3).
SEGA Golf Club (PS3).
Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3, also X360).
Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3).
Wangan Midnight (PS3).
White Knight Story (PS3).
GameSpy previews BeeWorks' Touch Detective (NDS).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Zero Wing for the SEGA Genesis. "In A.D. 2101 War was beginning" (submitted by famine101)