15th November 2009 - Welcome to week 18 of “The Week That Was”. Hopefully you’ve been able to pull yourself away from Modern Warfare 2, or New Super Mario Bros. Wii to have a read!
In game releases this week, the above mentioned games headlined the schedule with MW2 arriving on the 360, PS3 and PC, and Mario on the Wii of course. The Wii also saw the release of A Boy and His Blob, Modern Warfare remake Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex, Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage and Spongebob’s Truth or Square.
This week saw some details being leaked regarding the release of Natal. UK site MCV has gathered details following a behind-closed-doors Microsoft tour of UK publishers and studios, and revealed a November 2010 release. It’s expected that five million units will be shipped, along with 14 games on release, and will retail for a sub £50 price-tag (currently around AU$90, although Australia will probably get screwed over with the price). A reason for the surprisingly reasonable price-tag is that Microsoft are trying to price it in the “impulse-buy” range. Just in time for Christmas next year!
HD movies will be coming to the Xbox 360 in Australia. In a launch headlined by MC Hammer, Microsoft announced a new service that will deliver over 100 movies (some in HD, delivering 1080p 5.1 channel sound) through the Live service. The movies will have a limited viewing life, some as short as 24 hours, but there will be content from the majority of the major Hollywood studios. The service will be available sometime this month.
Remember how we mentioned that those with modified consoles would be getting banned from Xbox Live? Well apparently 600,000 Xbox Live accounts have been cancelled, with possibly up to one million users being banned. The source comes from an employee at a call centre that handles Xbox 360 accounts, and a disturbing number of disgruntled teenagers have called up not realising they had violated the terms and conditions of the console.
And finally, the new wireless-N adaptor for the 360 has been given an Australian release date and price. The magical date will be November 26th, and the adaptor will retail for $150. It will replace the current adaptor, which should see a price cut, and will have twice the range and seven times the speed of the current model. Despite the upgrade, a price point of $150 is still ridiculously overpriced.
In more motion control news, Sony are looking to treat the new motion controller as its own platform. PS3 studio boss Mike Denny is also insistent that the controller will be about more than just social games, as the experience will be much broader than that. Hopefully Sony stick to their guns and their third party games don’t end up like too many of the Wii’s casual games.
If you’re wondering what’s happened to Ken Kutaragi, the “Father of the PlayStation” who quit Sony back in 2007, he has now established his own company called “Cyber AI Entertainment. The company is initially focusing on “research and development relating to information processing, (and) targeting cutting-edge networking operations.” Apparently Kutaragi may also be considering the development of an “advanced platform for entertainment”..... perhaps a challenger to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii?
And gadget modding company Computer Choppers are releasing some gold-plated PS3’s. If you have US$9000 to spare, you can pick up a PS3 with either an 18kt gold “PS3” logo with white diamonds, or with a platinum, diamond-encrusted logo. So if you have more dollars than sense, you can head over to Computer Choppers and hope that one of the consoles (limited to five only) is still available.
In Wii news this week, Nintendo have let everyone know that there will not be a Wii HD next year. Industry analyst Michael Pachter has been constantly making predictions of such a thing, but in an interview with GTTV, Reggie Fils-Aime has shot down those ideas. Fils-Aime said, “"Michael [Pachter] continues to be the only one who believes this is going to happen... I don’t know how forcefully we can say that there is no Wii HD."
Fils-Aime also is unfazed by the new motion controllers set to be released by Sony and Microsoft. Fils-Aime has yet to try the rival controllers as no one has offered to demo them to him, but he is still confident Nintendo will have a large portion of the motion control market share as they have “a head-start of over 51 million controllers”. Reggie also referred to the Motion Plus accessory as their “second generation of motion control before anyone else has even introduced a comparable device”.
Meanwhile, EA’s CEO John Riccitiello is frustrated at the poor sales of Wii software and has suggested that Nintendo needs to release more first-party titles to generate interest in the format. Riccitiello also said, “to be honest with you, I think the Wii platform has been a little weaker than we had certainly anticipated” and, “we are reaching out to Nintendo to find ways to partner to push third-party software harder.” New Super Mario Bros. should definitely garner new interest in the platform.
The media is usually high on the Wii in terms of its health benefits, however some negative press emerged this week with the American Council on Exercise claiming that Wii Fit produces “underwhelming results”. A report was written based on research performed by the University of Wisconsin, and the findings show that even the most intensive exercises in the “game” only burn 100-160 calories for every 30 minutes. To put that in perspective, a cheeseburger contains around 300 calories. The research also found that playing Wii Sports burns more energy than Wii Fit!
And now the week’s other news in brief:
Is Ubisoft the latest company hoping to fix scores? A German magazine is claming the publisher demanded a positive review for Assassins Creed II
Michael Atkinson is welcoming the challenge from Gamers 4 Croydon, telling News.com.au that “The voters of Croydon will now be asked directly whether they want interactive games in which gamers score points by raping a mother and daughter, blowing themselves up, torturing human figures.... killing people and taking drugs to improve their sporting prowess.” Just my 2 cents, but the man is an idiot.