Microsoft ships 10 million 360s; 360 doubles as IPTV box?[xbox360]
In what appears to be a post-dated blog entry (update: the blog entry has now been removed), San Jose Mercury News journalist Dean Takahashi reports that Microsoft is expected to make announced updated Xbox 360 shipment figures and announce new functionality for the device during next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft executives have frequently made reference to the company's goal of shipping more than 10 million Xbox 360 units worldwide within approximately a year of the system's launch. While the exact deadline date seems to have changed a few times, it has remained in the basic neighborhood of the 360's first anniversary, and according to Takahashi shipments of 10.4 million units were achieved this holiday season. As in prior Microsoft-related sales announcements, the figure refers to units shipped to retail stores, not necessarily purchased by consumers; this is a distinction from independent sales figures, which track consumer sales. Last year, in response to PlayStation 3's launch delay, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated, "In every other generation, the first guy to 10 million consoles was the number one seller in the generation".
In news more applicable to consumers, Takahashi also claims that Microsoft will announce IPTV set-top box functionality for the console, meaning that Xbox 360 owners could stream digital television and other entertainment content through their consoles. IPTV has the backing of major communications companies and is expected to be rolled out to a growing list of locations in the relatively near future.
Microsoft's Bill Gates, along with other executives such as Microsoft Entertainment & Devices president Robbie Bach, will be presenting a CES keynote address on Sunday, January 7 at 6:30pm. It will be Gates' ninth such CES keynote. Takahashi expects Microsoft's shipment data and IPTV announcement to be presented at the address.
Buried at the bottom of Takahashi's was also a note that Wii sales have "exceeded Nintendo's expectations," according to Nintendo of America spokesperson Beth Lewellyn. Previously, the company estimated that it would sell four million Wii consoles to consumers worldwide within 2006, but the latest sales figures have not yet been released.
New Xbox 360 revision revealed?[xbox360]
A post on gadget blog Engadget depicts what is allegedly the back plate of an upcoming Xbox 360 revision featuring an HDMI out port as well as a 120GB drive--a 100GB improvement over the current Xbox 360 hard drive model. Whether HDMI will be added to Xbox 360 has been a subject of furious debate ever since the machine's initial release, but if the Engadget photograph is legitimate, it seems that Microsoft worked it all out; among various signal benefits, HDMI would allow for fuller coverage of 1080p resolution, which Xbox 360 currently supports only in certain content situations depending on whether the user is outputting via component or VGA.
Engadget claims that the revision is codenamed Zephyr, and speculates that the updated machine would be sold for the same price as the current model, which would be good news for those who have held off purchasing the system due to a lack of HDMI (though would also be sure to frustrated early adopters with HDMI-capable TVs). It would also be little surprise if the alleged Zephyr ships with the 65nm process CPU that Microsoft partner Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing last April announced was in development for the system.
If Zephyr exists, which seems likely, Microsoft may announce it during Bill Gates' CES keynote address on Sunday, January 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
GripShift, Jumping Flash! race to PS3[ps3] [psp]
Sony Online Entertainment announced last month that it would be bringing an updated version of Sidhe Interactive's PSP racer GripShift to PlayStation 3 in the coming month. That promise was fulfilled this week as the game was made available for purchase in the PlayStation Store accessible through PS3. It runs for $9.99, and includes 720p graphics at 60fps, four-player online multiplayer, and 125 levels across 25 tracks.
For PSP gamers, Sony released Exact's PlayStation platformer Jumping Flash! through PS3's PlayStation Store. Like other PlayStation games being sold for use on PSP, the game must be purchased through PS3, and copied onto a MemoryStick either using a USB cable or the MemoryStick slot on the 60GB PS3. Jumping Flash! weighs in at 283MB.
One PSP rhythm game cancelled, another pre-cancelled[psp]
This week, reports surfaced that Kuju's LucasArts-published PSP rhythm game Traxion had gotten the axe. Shacknews contacted LucasArts for further comment and was informed that the game has indeed been cancelled. "Kuju and LucasArts have mutually agreed to sever their relationship with respect to the development of the Traxion product," said a LucasArts representative. No further details as to the reasoning behind the move were revealed.
In related PSP rhythm game news, PSP blog PSP Fanboy has a post up about a conversation between IGN writer David Doel and developer Harmonix (IGN Insiders only), responsible for games such as Frequency, Amplitude, and Guitar Hero. Apparently, Harmonix was interested in producing a PSP sequel to the Sony-published Frequency and Amplitude, but Sony denied the proposal. Sony did, however, allow Koei to release iNiS' rhythm game remake Gitaroo Man Lives! on its portable system last year.
Motor Trend honors Gran Turismo creator (again)[ps2] [ps3]
For the third time running, Polyphony Digital president and Gran Tusismo series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has been named to autmotive publication Motor Trend's annual Top 50 Power List, printed in the magazine's February 2007 issue. This time, Yamauchi was placed at #27, beating out actual auto industry executives such as Ferrari CEO Jean Todt and Honda CEO Takeo Fukui.
Polyphony Digital recently released Gran Turismo HD Concept for free over PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network, and is currently working on the full-scale Gran Turismo 5 for Sony's current generation home console.
1UP has an interview with the always genial and genuine Masato Maegawa, president of veteran 2D gameplay master development studio Treasure. Maegawa gives the briefest of hints on the company's Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS projects, explains how the studio chooses its platforms, the likelihood of it developing for Wii or PS3, and the company's own development philosophies.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
OutRun for the Sega Master System. "Wow the music just that was awesome for a game on that time and driving really fun." (submitted by swebarb)