24th October 2009 - Welcome readers to week 15 of All Age Gaming’s "The Week That Was". Quite a big week in news this week, with a couple of more top-notch game releases. This week saw the release of Forza Motorsport 3 on the 360, the second of the series to arrive for the console. This is a must-buy for all hardcore racing fans. Borderlands was also released this week on the PS3 and 360, and presents a fun open world shooter with some RPG elements. For wrestling fans, WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2010 was released and the Wii saw a couple of exclusives in CSI: Deadly Intent and Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility. I should also mention the release of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, a couple of impressive DS games.
There was a lot of Xbox Live related news this week, and to start, more news is surfacing regarding the upcoming Live update. Twitter and Facebook won’t be the only updates, as the update will include a dedicated music store for Lips, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. US users also get a new “News and More” tab and “Inside Xbox” channel which includes MSNBC news and cartoons from Dilbert! Keep an eye out for more updates on the new features.
In other Live news, industry analyst Michael Pachter believes the price of Xbox Live Gold Membership could rise significantly over the next couple of years. If such a move occurs, it will be of course to drive up profits. Other analysts believe a tiered pricing model might be the direction Microsoft moves in. With a tiered model, Microsoft could charge more to have access to all the features that they’ve begun to implement on Live. Discounts might also be a possibility for higher paying members.
And in more Live news, Microsoft looks set to launch a rewards program. In emails sent to a number of subscribers, Microsoft are giving them an opportunity to register for the program of which not all will get access. The email also mentions stuff, more specifically cool stuff! Little else is detailed in the email but we do know that is it limited to the LIVE community in the US. Keep an eye out for updates on this as well.
And finally, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has suggested to Gizmodo that there will be Blu-Ray drives for the 360. He was asked whether or not the 360 would have a built in Blu-Ray disc drive, and responded with, “Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there—you'll be able to get Blu-ray drives as accessories.” Major Nelson was quick to shoot down this statement though, saying that Ballmer was referring to a PC add-on.
Some more PS3 sales figures have come in this week, and the news is good for Sony. The PS3 is now the top selling console in Australiaas well as the US. By the end of September, 40,000 PS3 units had been sold in Australia, and that number has now risen over 60,000 units. It still sits in last place in overall sales, but if it keeps selling like it is then it will catch up to the 360 soon.
Sony’s Jack Tretton has spoken in response to the excellent figures, saying that there is still more to come from Sony. Tretton said, “the best part is that we’ve only just begun an onslaught of relentless, rich content hitting throughout the fiscal year, including Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, God of War III, MAG, and ModNation Racers.” Don’t forget about the recently released Uncharted 2, which has even topped Australian charts (beating out Wii Fit Plus) and the release of Gran Turismo 5 next year.
Last week we mentioned InFamous 2 and Resistance 3, and now this week we find out that Killzone 3 is in development. In the December issue of Playstation: The Official Magazine, Killzone 3 is mentioned in an article titled “The Secret Games of 2010.” Another title worth mentioning is a possible Call of Duty: World at War sequel. The Killzone 3 game however, is already deep in development so hopefully we hear more news of this soon.
And for those yet to pick up a PS3, and also happen to be in the market for a new high-definition TV, Sony are running their free PS3 Bravia promotion again. There are 25,000 PS3’s available this time around, and Sony Australia are promising buyers that those who qualify for a free PS3 will get it before Christmas Day. Click on the link for the Bravia models that will run with the promotion.
Despite the success that Nintendo is still achieving with the Wii, they are set to experience their first annual profit drop in six years. The Net Income at Nintendo is likely to fall 11% to $2.7 billion this fiscal year, and could be blamed on the lack of blockbuster titles in the first half of the year, resulting in a drop in Wii sales. A strong Japanese Yen is also being blamed for the profit loss, as this reduces the value of Nintendo’s overseas sales, deposits and other assets in foreign currencies. Still, $2.7 billion can’t be that bad can it?
Meanwhile, Europe will be getting the limited edition black Wii bundle that was seen in Japan earlier this year. It will be bundled with a copy of Wii Sports Resort and the original Wii sports title, and Europe will also see the release of black Wii controllers as well (Classic Controller Pro, Wii remotes, Motion Plus etc.). The UK and Republic of Ireland get the bundle on November 6th, whilst the rest of Europe has to wait until November 20th. Hopefully Nintendo brings it down under too!
This last week also saw Shigeru Miyamoto talk more about the future direction of Nintendo. Last week we saw Miyamoto talk about HD graphics, and this week he spoke about the hardware and controls. Miyamoto says that Nintendo have found a nice interface in the Wii remote and MotionPlus in that it appeals to a broad audience. He would go on to say, “my guess is that because we found this interface to be so interesting, I think it would be likely that we would try to make that same functionality perhaps more compact and perhaps even more cost-efficient."
And finally, Mario voice actor Charles Martinet has revealed that Nintendo are working on a new Mario game that isn’t New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Super Mario Galaxy 2. Martinet was doing some recording for the new game, and wrote on his Twitter account, “Awesome new Mario Game! And it’s not NSMB Wii, and it’s not Galaxy 2, but it’s going to be crazy fun!” Nintendo refuse to comment on this, and went as far as to have Martinet pull the comments off his Twitter account.
And now for this week's other news in brief:
This kid has researched the correlation between video games and joint pain in other kids. I’m sure the other kids are happy with his findings....