22nd November 2009 - Welcome to this week’s instalment of All Age Gaming’s Week That Was. Hope you’ve all had time to pull yourself away from Modern Warfare 2 and New Super Mario Bros. as a couple more blockbusters were released this week.
The first big title to be released this week is Left 4 Dead 2. If you’ve been following the controversy, the title was initially refused classification in Australia but has now been given the green light following some modifications. Anyway, a worthy pick-up for PC and 360 gamers, PS3 players get the shaft since Valve hates the PS3 so much. The other big release for the week is Assassin’s Creed II for PS3 and 360. Hopefully there’s less repetitiveness in this one over the original. Other releases include Divinity II on the 360, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast on PS3 and 360, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on PS3 and Wii, and F1 2009, Medieval Games, Monster 4x4 Stunt Racer and Tales of Symphona: Dawn of the New World, all on Wii.
In PS3 news this week, we saw the release of firmware update v3.10. The previously rumoured Facebook and Twitter integration was indeed part of the update. The Facebook integration now allows users to link their PSN account to their Facebook account, and give them the option to automatically update their Facebook News Feed with Trophy and PlayStation Store activity. Other new features in the new firmware included a revamped Photo category on the XMB and a modified PSN Friends List.
The new firmware update will not be bringing cross-game chat for the PS3, but it still looks to be on the way. The PSN’s product manager, James Thorpe, has hinted on the Playstation.Blog that it is coming soon, saying, “I wish I could just give you a date, I really do! Trust me when I say that as soon as I hear from ‘up top’ I will be shouting about it and making myself the most popular person on the blog.” Keep your eyes peeled for this one.
In other PSN news, Sony are looking to expand the PSN to cover other hardware devices in Sony’s range. It would involve an online service (using online ID’s such as the PSN ID) that would link various devices such as the PS3, PSP, Sony TVs and digital cameras together, so that photos and videos could be shared without the need for a computer or memory card.
Sony may also introduce a paid subscription model to the PSN. No, this doesn’t mean they will charge to play online like Microsoft does, but certain premium services may be charged for. What these premium services are is unknown at this point, but the aim is to obviously increase revenue for the company and help make their game business profitable again. It is all a part of their strategy to achieve this goal, which would also involve cost reduction and getting their internal divisions working more efficiently.
And finally, the 3D capabilities for the PS3 and other Sony devices should be available by 2011. This will be made available via a firmware update for the PS3 and not only will Sony be releasing their own 3D software, but they are also actively supporting third-party software development.
The WiiWare demo service previously announced has now started for PAL region Wii’s. Three demos of WiiWare games are available, and they are Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord, Bit.Trip Beat and NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits. So far it has been indicated that the demos will stay as they are until January 31st. Whether or not more demos are added is so far unconfirmed.
Despite its lack of success, Shigeru Miyamoto still seems keen to follow up on Wii Music. When asked about the future plans for the game, Miyamoto said, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any news we can talk about at the moment. But like Wii Fit Plus, it’s not really a sequel to the original Wii Fit – but we have added some features to improve the overall experience. It’s kind of an enhanced version.” I somehow doubt an enhanced version will sell well and help Nintendo with their current slump (by their standards that is).
Reggie Fils-Aime was in the news again this week, where he made brief mention of the Wii Vitality Sensor that was unveiled at E3 this year. According to Reggie, we’ll have to wait until next year’s E3 before Nintendo further show off the Vitality Sensor and unveil some software to go with it. When asked if this software included games, Reggie responded with, “I’m not going to give you any more hints beyond that.” Reggie also confirmed that Nintendo are working on some games to work with the Motion Plus accessory but would not go into detail with that either.
And Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed that Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be “a really challenging game” that may warrant a Super Guide similar to that present in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. In fact, the Super Guide may be implemented in any Nintendo game “wherever and whenever appropriate.” Will this improve games, or just dull down the challenge? What do you think?
Following the recent spate of Xbox Live bans, Microsoft has warned people against purchasing banned or modded consoles. A Microsoft spokesperson told IGN that, “if you purchase a console that has been previously banned, you will not be able to connect to Live.” Some sellers (on Craigslist) have not revealed the fact that their consoles have been banned, so always check before you buy!
Meanwhile, a US law firm is seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 360 owners banned from Live for having modified Xbox 360s. The firm is investigating Microsoft’s business practices, believing they waited to start banning people until after they may have renewed their Gold subscriptions specifically for Halo: ODST and Modern Warfare 2. This “convenient” timing would allow for more revenues from Live subscriptions before the bans, and still allow for high sales of the two titles. All I have to say about this is, only in America!
Last week we mentioned rumours regarding the release date and pricing for Project Natal. Microsoft have responded to those rumours, dismissing them as being inaccurate. Xbox Europe head Chris Lewis said they will announce it in due time, and are committed to ensure the games will be “unique, compelling and very exciting right from the outset.”
And in other Natal news, Microsoft believe Natal will be able to replace the remote control on Xbox 360-powered TVs. Xbox Live general manager, Marc Whitten, told attendees at the Streaming Media West show that watching television may become so sophisticated that “with a flick of my wrist I can change a channel... with the power of my voice I can start a movie.” Microsoft aim to simplify the finding of content and sharing it with friends, and possibly using Natal to recognise users in a room and having it produce content based on what they’re interested in.
And now for the week's other news in brief:
Final Fantasy XIII has been dated for Australia, with a release on March 9, 2010 (same as Europe and North America).