Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Nov 01, 2006 8:41pm PST
  • Microsoft to issue updated 360 update (UPDATED)


    This week, Microsoft released a significant dashboard update for its Xbox 360 console via Xbox Live. After doing so, however, some users begain claiming that the update had apparently permanently crashed their consoles, rendering the systems useless. Today, Microsoft acknowledged the problem via its employee-written Gamerscore Blog. According to Microsoft marketing employee John Porcaro, the issue affects "less than 1%" of users. He noted that a new version of the update should be available within 24 hours of the time of his post, made at 1:39PM Pacific time.

    Microsoft has not stated the conditions under which a console would fall victim to the bug, or whether specific conditions have been determined. Initially, users speculated that it only affected illegally modified Xbox 360s, while more recent claims suggest that it has affected Xbox 360s which had not been patched with the spring 2006 dashboard update.

    Update: According to Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, the new update is now available via Xbox Live. Users with continued issues should contact Xbox support.

  • Nintendo confirms launch period shipment numbers


    Nintendo announced today that it has committed to shipping some 4 million Wii systems from the machine's North American launch on November 19 until the end of calendar year 2006. The launch will follow in Japan on December 2, Australia and New Zealand on December 7, and Europe on December 8. Of the 4 million planned units, Nintendo claimed that the bulk will be shipped to the Americas, though specific breakdowns were not provided. The company claims that Wii's launch will be the largest console launch in over ten years.

    Despite the high targets and the company's plans of "maximizing all its resources for a rapid replenishment program designed to consistently pump Wii consoles into the supply pipeline and keep retailers' shelves as filled as possible," Nintendo still expects demand to outstrip supply. This expectation was reinforced as retailer Wal-Mart opened up online preorders for the system this morning and within hours sold out its allotted stock, including its $533.56 four-game Customer's Choice Bundle.

    Yesterday, Nintendo released the most recent launch lineup information for Wii and its Virtual Console service.

  • 40 downloadable PS3 games in the works


    According to statements made by Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios' Phil Harrison speaking to the Sony-sanctioned Three Speech blog, Sony is currently developing about 40 games to be distributed via PlayStation 3's downloadable game service. His comments seem to indicate that these games are being funded and published by Sony; it is possible that third party publishers have their own games in the works. Three Speech claims that some studios are currently dedicated entirely to creating downloadable PS3 games.

    "My strategy was to encourage developers to push the machine technically, creatively, artistically--to innovate in lots of different ways," said Harrison. "But don't be restricted by ghettoising games into a particular genre, or a particular display mechanic, because what we've seen on other systems tend to be retro 2D games, and we're pushing the 3D capabilities of the PlayStation 3. Plus, the fact that every PS3 has a hard disc drive means that we're not restricted by the size of the download, and that has a huge impact on the kind of game design that you can do."

    Despite its eventual plans for PS3 to download and play games first published on the original PlayStation, Sony has made it clear that its downloadable game service is strongly oriented towards newly developed titles rather than retro games.

  • Need for Speed Carbon content hits Live


    Today, Electronic Arts made available a bevy of purchasable vehicles and upgrades for the Xbox 360 version of EA Black Box's Need for Speed Carbon. Available via Xbox Live Marketplace, today's eleven various additions are valued at a combined 3940 Microsoft Points ($49.25), with a bit of overlap as one of the packs contains content included in three others.

    The biggest bundle of content on sale for Carbon is the Collector's Edition Upgrade, consisting of 12 tracks, 6 Challenge missions, and 10 cars, such as the '92 Nissan 240 SX, '07 Jaguar XK, '06 Camaro concept, and '06 Koenigsegg CCX. Apparently, these cars cannot be modified or used in Career mode. The Collector's Edition Upgrade goes for 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Its content is exclusive to the downloadable pack and cannot be obtained in the game through other means.

    There are three performance bundles, the Performance Drivetrain Bundle, Performance Engine Boost Bundle, and Performance Handling Bundle, which contain different in-game upgrades that can be applied to your vehicles. Each runs 400 Microsoft Points ($5). The Ultimate Performance Bundle consists of all the content from the three performance bundles and runs 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Some of the content in the performance bundles can be acquired in-game through other means.

    Next up are three body modification kits, the Muscle Car Autosculpt Body Kit, Autosculpt Tuner Body Kit, and Autosculpt Exotic Body Kit, each of which includes new Autosculpt features for its respective vehicle class. Each runs 300 Microsoft Points ($3.75). Some of the content in the autosculpt bundles can be acquired in-game through other means.

    Finally, there are three standalone cars available for 80 Microsoft Points ($1) each: the '99 Nissan Skyline GR-R R34, '04 Lamborghini Murcielago, and '06 Dodge Viper SRT-10. These cars can also be unlocked in the game's Career mode.

  • Eragon demo goes Live


    Sierra Entertainment sends word that a demo of the Xbox 360 version of Stormfront Studios' Eragon is being added to Xbox Live. At time of writing, it is not yet available. When it is, it will include a sample of the single-player game's dragon-riding gameplay. The full version of Eragon includes a cooperative mode.

    Stormfront Studios' Eragon ships November 14, 2006.

Misc. Media/Previews


GameSpot checks out Pseudo Interactive's Full Auto 2: Battlelines (PS3). IGN has impressions of Q Entertainment's Lumines Plus (PS2).

Screenshots: Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War (PS3). Test Drive Unlimited (PS2, PSP, also X360, PC).


IGN goes hands on with Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (X360).

Screenshots: F.E.A.R. (X360, also PS3, PC). The History Channel Civil War (X360, also PS2, PC).


IGN previews Tecmo's Super Swing Golf (Wii) and the Wii version of Avalanche's Chicken Little: Ace in Action (Wii, also PS2, NDS).

Screenshots: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, also GCN).

Movies: Red Steel (Wii). Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz (Wii).


IGN checks out an import copy of Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All (NDS).

Screenshots: Top Gear: Downforce (NDS).


GameSpot has character profiles from Spike's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (PS2, Wii).

Screenshots: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (PS2, Wii).

Movies: Superman Returns: The Videogame (PS2, Xbox, X360, NDS).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen for the Super NES. "This is the game that first showed off Yasumi Matsuno's knack for deep gameplay design and his obsession with Queen references" (submitted by TheContact)

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21 Threads | 96 Comments

  • gnoleb, you working for EA or something?

    PR aside, the thing people complain about (and rightly so, IMO) is when publishers rather obviously cut content from games to sell it as "special" content (no matter if it's in the form of overpriced special editions for three cars more, or marketplace downloads like horse armor). In this case the development and testing was already done, they just charge way too much (proportionally to the rest of the game) for a single car, or track, or whatever. Maybe it's because most gamers (with you as an obvious exception) got used to paying for a game and get a certain base content for their money and don't want to let go of this just because development costs increase because all everyone cares about is ZOMG NEXT GEN graphics, or maybe it's just the brave new micropayments and consoles-on-the-intarweb world which allows for crap like this. A buck or two for a car won't hurt you, until we get to the point where you basically pay double for a game because of all that content you "have to" buy besides the box.

    also, you fail to realize this is not extra content, it's EA milking people by charging for stuff while not explaining properly that most of it can be unlocked by properly playing the game (not to mention I think it's downright retarded to release stuff that's "in the game" to be unlocked for a fee instead of playing the game). If you wanna fully understand how Madden works you need to buy their guide instead of having a proper ingame explanation or decent manual. If you want to cheat in Godfather you need to pay EA.

    BTW, if you really want to make pointless comparisons to completely other industries, like cars, a more fitting analogy would be Ford releasing a full-blown sedan but without rear seats - I mean, it's not like you're gonna save much on that (or rather, Ford won't, as they're not gonna lower the price of their car) and it's otherwise fully functional. Would you still defend that as "you get the choice to buy rear seats if you really need them, otherwise the car works perfectly well and car production costs are on the rise" ?