EA dominates PS2 and PSP with Burnout[ps2] [psp]
This August, Electronic Arts announced that Criterion's fifth main installment of its destruction-laden racer Burnout would be coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Today, the company announced that the series will take a detour on Sony's other systems, PlayStation 2 and PSP, with Burnout Dominator. "The series was born on the PlayStation 2, and Burnout Dominator is about celebrating the essence of Burnout," said senior producer Nick Channon. "Burnout Dominator focuses on the reckless skill-based racing and fear of crashing that fuelled the first games."
While no substantial details were revealed about Dominator, the game will make use of the same fast-paced core mechanics that have driven previous Burnout entries to success. With its current focus on Burnout 5 and a new installment of Black, Criterion is giving the wheel to EA's Guildford-based UK Studio. EA sent over some screenshots of the PS2 version of the game.
EA UK Studio's Burnout Dominator is set to ship for PlayStation 2 and PSP in 2007.
Class action suit filed against MS for 360 issues[xbox360]
Various technical issues with Xbox 360 have been widely reported since the machine's North American launch last November. Now, it seems that, for the first time, legal action is being taken against the company in regards to one such issue. In late October, Microsoft released its fall dashboard update for Xbox 360, adding numerous new options and functions. Some users who installed the update reported that it had fatal effects on their Xbox 360s, effectively "bricking" them. Microsoft soon acknowledged the complaint, stating that it affected "less than 1%" of users. The company then released an updated patch. Microsoft recommended that those with continued problems should contact Xbox support. Some such users then reported that after contacting support they were informed they would have to pay for repairs; in a statement Microsoft indicated that it will cover the repair and shipping costs for consoles harmed by the Fall Update before November 1.
According to posts made this week on the official Xbox forums, one of these users has filed a class-action suit against Microsoft for violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act, breach of contract, and negligence. GameSpot managed to obtain a copy of the lawsuit, filed in the state of Washington. It states that Microsoft has in fact refused to pay for repair or replacement costs for consumers numbering "at least the thousands," and is being sued for breach of contract. The negligence charge will take effect if Microsoft claims to have had no explicit contract with said users.
D3 brings Earth Defense Force to North America[xbox360]
D3 Publisher has announced that the popular formerly-Japan-only alien-blasting series Earth Defense Force will be making its first official appearing in North America. Earth Defense Force 3, which will launch in Japan next week on Xbox 360, will be released to North American audiences next spring, where it will be renamed Earth Defense Force X to allay potential numbering confusion for gamers unfamiliar with the seriers. Like prior entries in the series, Earth Defense Force X eschews any pretense at deep story, electing to simply plunge the player into a balls-to-the-wall action-fest, where Earth is being invaded by aliens, giant bugs, mechs, and huge Godzilla-like creatures, and an elite fighting force must save humanity. "We want it to feel like a Godzilla movie," said a D3 representative speaking to Shacknews. "Like Godzilla with guns." Earth Defense Force X features approximately 400 weapons over seven categories.
Earth Defense Force X is being created by series developer Sandlot. D3 plans to ship the game to Xbox 360 in North America in March 2007.
Nintendo improves Wii remote strap strength[wii]
Since the initial launch of the Wii in North America, various photos have surfaced documenting damage caused by Wii remotes by people who, in their apparently boundless enthusiasm, have flung remotes out of their hands with enough force to snap the included wrist strap and strike nearby objects such as television screens. Today, speaking to Japanese press, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that the company is looking into the situation, but has not announced any specific plans to improve the strap. "Of course before the launch of the Wii hardware Nintendo had a number of tests on the durability of everything including the strap," said Iwata. "But our understanding right now is that even beyond our expectations people are becoming more and more excited playing with the Wii."
Oddly, despite Iwata's tentative comments today, it seems Nintendo already has taken steps to improve the situation. Apparently, when contacted by consumers with broken straps, the replacement units are noticeably thicker than the original units. When the system launched in Australia yesterday, buyers reported receiving the newer straps included with the system and with the Wii Play game and remote bundle, while finding the older straps included with standalone Wii remotes. Shacker CoRDS supplies us with this photograph comparing both, demonstrating a significant difference between them.
DS dominates sales charts with, uh, high sales[ps2] [ps3] [xbox360] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Today, the NPD Group released its United States video game industry sales figures for the month of November. Nintendo DS considered its increasingly long running streak at #1 with sales of almost a million, managing to move 918,000 units into consumers' hands, over double last month's sales; DS now has a US install base of about 8.1 million. PlayStation 2 also more than doubled last month's numbers, coming in second with 664,000 units sold. Perhaps surprisingly, Nintendo's Game Boy Advance managed to steal the third place spot from Xbox 360, coming close to PS2 with 641,000 units.
Given its plentiful supply and established library, Xbox 360 was the highest selling current generation console with 511,000 units, giving the machine a US install base of 3.8 million. Wii followed with 476,000 units, showing a discrepancy from Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime's quoted figure of 600,000. Nintendo followed up NPD's report with a press release noting that Fils-Aime's figures gave sales data for all of the Americas, whereas NPD reports only on the US. Nintendo also noted that its consoles accounted for about 55% of total November hardware sales.
PSP had sales of 412,000, while Sony's new PlayStation 3 sold 197,000. The PS3 numbers suggest a degree of accuracy in comments made by EA CEO Larry Probst, who recently predicted that Sony would miss its planned PS3 shipment numbers by about half.
Total monthly hardware sales were up a notable 69% to $771 million year over year, which most peg on the Xbox 360, now in significantly greater supply than it was last November, and the arrival of the Wii, which saw decent initial supply.
As far as games go, Epic's Gears of War (X360) took the number one slot, selling over a million units. Square Enix's Final Fantasy XII (PS2) followed at number two. Third was Nintendo's Wii version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which ended up the only game for either of the two newly released consoles to make the top ten. Nintendo's press release stated that Zelda's attach rate of 87% gave it the highest attach rate for any launch title since Super Mario 64 on Nintendo 64. Harmonix's Guitar Hero II (PS2) took the next spot at number four.
Software sales were up 29% year over year to $804 million.
Hudson to bring...something to Virtual Console on Monday[wii]
Nintendo recently announced that it would be releasing new games for Wii's Virtual Consoles every Monday. This week, a Hudson employee posting to the company's official board promised that next Monday's releases would include at least one new TurboGrafx-16 game. "Best of all, it's one of the most requested games that fans want," said marketing director John Lee.
The game in question may be the classic shoot-em-up R-Type. Currently, two unreleased Hudson games have been rated by the ESRB for Wii: R-Type and Dungeon Explorer. Lee noted that Monday's game "has not been announced yet," while the latter ESRB-rated game has already been announced for inclusion on the Virtual Console.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Burgertime for the Intellivision. "It's time for burgers! This game taught me that hot dogs, eggs, and pickles hate salt!" (submitted by jehkyb)