PlayStation 3 launches in Japan[ps3]
Sony's PlayStation 3 has officially gone on sale in Japan, making it the first territory where the machine is available. Sony Computer Entertainment chief and "father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi was present at the 7:00am opening of Bic Camera's Yarakucho location in Tokyo. "I'm grateful that so many people are waiting for the PS3," said Kutaragi. "I hope you will enjoy the next-generation entertainment to your heart's content." The 20GB hard drive variant of the machine is selling for 49,980 yen ($423.70). Sony put an open price on the 60GB model, allowing retailers to choose their own price points. It is most commonly selling for 59,980 ($508.48). This 60GB price is actually lower than the original 62,790 yen price for the 20GB model Sony announced during this year's pre-E3 conference, before lowering it this September.
It is unclear how many units were available on Japanese shelves when stores opened. Sony's original announced shipment allocation for Japan was 100,000 units, though recent reports claimed an 80,000 unit figure. This week, SCEA CEO Kaz Hirai claimed that Sony still plans to hit its original calendar and fiscal year targets, though he did not specifically mention the Japanese launch day quantity. When the system goes on sale in North America on November 17, Sony has announced it will have 400,000 units available.
Wii to grab immediate firmware update[nintendo]
Much like this week's earlier news about PlayStation 3 requiring a new firmware update at launch, media outlets receiving pre-release Wii units have today reported that Wii will also be treated to a system update when it is officially available in stores. The update will allow the console to connect to its CNN-fuelled News and Weather Channels, as well as the Shop Channel that allows Virtual Console downloads. Users who cannot download the update due to not connecting their consoles to the internet are unlikely to miss anything useful, as all three of those channels require internet access to function at all.
Wii tops Popular Science's Home Entertainment list[nintendo]
Each year, Popular Science magazine publishes a series of lists called Best of What's New, spanning several categories including Gadgets, Computing, Aviation & Space, Automoting, and more. In its Home Entertainment category, Popular Science gave the Grand Award to the soon to be released Nintendo Wii, beating out seven other nominees including a Samsung 56" DLP HDTV and a Blu-ray Disc player. Popular Science noted the machine's modest horsepower compared to rival Xbox 360, but praised its motion-sensing controller. There was also a bizarre (and erroneous) reference to "[Nintendo's] iconic talking mushrooms."
Full Auto 2 speeds to PSP[psp]
Publisher Sega today announced that Pseudo Interactive's destructive racer Full Auto 2: Battlelines, previously announced only for PlayStation 3, will be making its way to PSP courtesy of developer Deep Fried Entertainment. The Vancouver-based Deep Fried was founded by several industry veterans last year, and is currently also known to be working on an unidentified Nintendo DS project.
Full Auto 2 for PSP will contain 15 different PSP-unique vehicles, a full single-player campaign and other single-player modes, local wireless multiplayer modes, licensed music from bands such as Sum 41, Stone Sour, and Wolfmother.
Sega plans to ship Deep Fried Entertainment's Full Auto 2: Battlelines for PSP in March 2007.
Wii to allow custom soundtracks[nintendo]
Based on Excite Truck screenshots apparently displaying an option to read music from SD cards, many gamers speculated that Monster Games' Wii launch racer would support custom soundtracks. Today, IGN has confirmed these rumors using a final copy of the game and a retail Wii unit. To play your own music in the game, simply load it onto a standard SD card, put the card in the console's SD port, and and choose "SD Card" in the game's music options menu. Excite Truck supports up to 100 tracks, with the option to randomize tracks and skip tracks in the middle of a race.
Excite Truck is currently the only known Wii game to support custom soundtracks. It is unlikely to be a common feature in story-driven games, but it may be more common on games whose default soundtracks consist of licensed music.
Viva microtransactions (or not)[xbox360]
Coinciding with the release of Rare's Viva Pinata (X360) this week, Microsoft has made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace the first piece of downloadable content for the game. Players can now purchase the Viva Pinata Accessory Pack 1 for 90 Microsoft Points ($1.125--yes, one dollar, twelve and a half cents). This first of multiple packs contains two presumably jaunty chapeaux for your pinatas: the Vela Wig and the Juno Helmet. Hooray for hats!
Want a PS3? Don't get in line[ps3]
Remember yesterday's story about the ten-day-early PlayStation 3 campers? According to a characteristically snarky Kotaku report, they aren't camping anymore. Apparently, Best Buy staff--at least at the electronics chain's Burbank location--is forbidding any overnight lines for PlayStation 3 or Wii until the day before the respective consoles go on sale. If you yourself decide to take a particularly zealous approach to pre-release line-forming, be sure to check with store employees before setting up camp.
1UP's Sam Kennedy takes a look at why Sony may repeat PS2 history with PS3, or why it may not.
Screenshots: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, also GCN).
Movies: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (Wii, also PS2, Xbox, PS3, X360, PSP, GBA, PC) trailer. Madden NFL 07 (Wii, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC) defensive controls video. Sega Genesis Virtual Console titles (Wii): Altered Beast, Columns, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Ecco, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Ristar, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space+Harrier+II, Toe Jam & Earl.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Master Chu & The Drunkard Hu for the NES. "One of the worst games ever. I got to the end within 3 hours of renting it, and the ending is 10 seconds long." (submitted by skruff)