Sony pre-announces GDC announcements[ps2] [ps3] [psp]
Sony today issued a press release hinting at the types of announcements it will be making during its Phil Harrison-led keynote at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It seems the company will be introducing numerous online and community-related features for the console. Harrison's presentation, entitled "Game 3.0: Developing and Creating for the 3rd Age of Videogames," will focus on what Sony considers the four tenets of its "Game 3.0" initiative: community, user-generated content, collaboration, and commerce. All of these features, the specifics of which have not yet been announced, will be demonstrated on PlayStation 3.
"This is a very exciting time to be part of the game development community," said Harrison. "Advancements in technology combined with new consumer trends mean the industry has a great opportunity to create engaging new entertainment experiences for the world. I believe we're at the threshold of a new era in creative game development that's destined to drive our industry growth through the next decade or more."
Widely held speculation, initially reported by Kotaku and resulting in a brief tiff between Sony and the gaming blog, is that PS3's new features will be known as PlayStation Home and will incorporate features very similar to Achievements on Xbox 360 and Mii avatars on Wii, as well as a MySpace-like social community.
Harrison's keynote will be delivered on March 7 at 10:30am Pacific time at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
Microsoft raises XBLA limit, adds new memory unit[xbox360]
As the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco kicks off today, Microsoft announced that it will be raising the download size limit of Xbox Live Arcade games for Xbox 360 from the original 50MB to 150MB. The product that makes this possible is the company's new 512MB Memory Unit, which will be released in North America on April 3, 2007 for US$49.99. For those keeping track, that's a 9 cents per megabyte of storage, as compared to 62 cents per megabyte of storage for the 64MB Memory Unit ($39.99)--or .08 cents per megabyte of storage for the portable 20GB hard drive ($99.99).
"The new size limit offers developers increased flexibility and continued opportunities for innovative game development, while also ensuring that the millions of gamers on Xbox LIVE can continue to easily access, download and play all Xbox LIVE Arcade games on Xbox 360," said XBLA product unit manager Chris Early. "If you take a look at current games like 'Roboblitz' and 'Small Arms,' it's clear that our developers deliver amazing game experiences within a compact size limit. Our focus is on continuing to provide developers with an environment that allows for the creation of cost-efficient games and that nurtures an artistic and creative approach to game development."
Various sources have reported based on information gleaned from inside sources that, in reality, Microsoft has unofficially raised the size limit of Xbox Live Arcade titles beyond the announced 150MB, and will give developers greater leeway on a case-by-case basis.
Microsoft will be showcasing various upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games during GDC, including Bizarre Creations' Boom Boom Rocket, Wanako Games' 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures, Klei Entertainment's Eets: Chowdown, Rare's Jetpac Refuelled, and Zen Studios' Pinball FX.
Resistance unable to resist more online features[ps3]
Last night, Sony announced that developer Insomniac Games would be bringing a bevy of new online multiplayer features and content to its well received PlayStation 3 launch shooter Resistance: Fall of Man. On March 23, when PS3 is released in Europe, Resistance will see an update adding two new gametypes: a team version of the Conversion mode, and a new base assault mode fittingly titled Assault. Also included in the update will be improvements to matchmaking, an option for players to reinstate the game's original radar system, and an online spectator feature.
In May, Insomniac will release two new multiplayer maps, one set in Northern Great Britain's snow-capped hills and another featuring above- and below-ground action set in the city of Camborn. Further details on these maps will be released on the game's official site. Also coming in May is the addition of worldwide matchmaking.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, two others to Wii's Virtual Console[wii]
Nintendo today added its weekly batch of games to Wii's Virtual Console, one each drawn from the NES, Super NES, and Sega Genesis libraries. First up is the elevator-centric spy-themed action game Elevator Action (NES, 1-2 players). It is available for 500 Wii Points ($5). Next is the classic, and punishing, sidescroller Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Super NES, 1 player). Control Arthur in his underwear for 800 Wii Points ($8). Finally, Sega contributed AM2's Sword of Vermilion (Sega Genesis, 1 player), the first/third-person hybrid medieval RPG. Sword of Vermilion, which contains only one "l" in its spelling, is priced at 800 Wii Points ($8).
Boom Boom Rocket priced[xbox360]
Bizarre Creations sends word that its upcoming Xbox Live Arcade rhythm game Boom Boom Rocket has had its price point finalized. The game will sell for 800 Microsoft Points ($10) when it is made available this spring.
The Wall Street Journal has an illuminating and exhaustive feature on Sony CEO Howard Stringer, detailing the executives early days in charge of the corporation and his challenges in guiding the splintered electronics giant. Notably, the piece touches on the relationship between Stringer and polarizing PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
ChoroQ for the PlayStation 2. "Have you seen the movie, "Cars"? Then you pretty much know what to expect here. Lighthearted racing/RPG mix with a ton of different races and customization options." (submitted by roushimsx)