29th August 2009 - Welcome readers to All Age Gaming’s 8th instalment of “The Week That Was”.

Notable game releases this week included the oft-delayed ‘Punch-Out!!’ on Wii, as well as ‘Sacred 2’ for 360 and PS3. Both are worth checking out, especially Sacred 2 for those who did not get a chance to play it on PC. Other releases included ‘Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout’, another Wii based exercise game, and movie tie-in ‘Up’ for the Wii, DS, PC and PS2.

XBOX 360

It is official! This week Microsoft reshuffled their hardware line-up by phasing out the Pro model and giving the Elite model a price-cut worldwide. On local shores, the Elite received a $100 price cut to a new retail price of $449. The Pro model will eventually be phased out, but along with the Arcade bundle, will stay at its current price. The new prices come into effect from September 22, coinciding with the release of Halo 3: ODST which will be bundled with the Elite up until October 20. The US saw their expected price cut to US$299.99 whilst in the UK, the Elite dropped to £199.99. Arcade bundles will still have a price increase in the UK as mentioned in a previous week-that-was. The new prices are already in effect in the US and UK.

Last week finally saw the announcement of the PS3 Slim and the end to week after week of rumours. This week, IndustryGamers have started to speculate on the likelihood of a 360 Slim! Various analysts discussed the likelihood and necessity of a slim model with David Cole of DFC Intelligence believing it to be a matter of when and not if? Jesse Divnich of EEDAR believes a redesign could be beneficial in terms of reducing costs, as well as giving the 360 an image of increased reliability. However Arvind Bhatia of Sterne Agee doesn’t believe Microsoft will have to focus on a redesign, as the release of Natal next year should keep interest in the 360 high. Well a redesign won’t be coming soon, if ever, with Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg shooting down the idea of a slim model.

Following Game Informer’s recent reader-polled survey that revealed a 54% failure rate on the Xbox 360, Microsoft have responded to the controversy. A Microsoft spokesperson told TG Daily that the 360 is a superior entertainment console that they are constantly improving in design (not a slim model!), manufacture and performance. The spokesperson also mentioned the fact that Microsoft offered one of the best warranties in the industry. The warranty as well as Microsoft’s Live service are probably the reasons for keeping the customers coming back, with one reader on the TG Daily forum staying loyal even though he is on his fifth 360!

Despite the general praise for the 360’s Live service, Square-Enix are blaming it for the delayed release of Final Fantasy XIV on the 360. The game will not release at the same time as the PS3 and PC versions as, according to FFXIV producer Hiromichi Tanaka, the 360 “has its own policy with Xbox Live that is different from [the] internet.” Discussions with Microsoft are in the works to come to an agreement regarding the matter.

And finally, the much touted Twitter and Facebook applications soon to arrive on the 360 will only be available to Gold Xbox Live members. That’s right, despite the two services being FREE to use on your home computer/mobile phone, Microsoft see it fit to restrict its use to paying members only. In my opinion this is not a big loss for Silver members like me, but seriously Microsoft? They are FREEEEEE services!!!!


Nintendo Wii

It looks like Nintendo were right to wait for the second half of the year’s game releases. Wii Sports Resort is dominating software sales worldwide, with the title already moving over a million units in Japan, the US and Europe since its June 25 release. It is also performing extremely well in Australia, selling 100,000 copies. That’s an average of 25,000 copies per week which are ridiculous numbers for Australia. I wouldn’t expect to see anything else top the Australian charts for a while.

The crazy Nintendo patents keep rolling in.... although isn’t as crazy as the horse-riding, inflatable seat thing. This time, Nintendo has filed a patent for a football controller accessory. That’s American Football for those that are wondering. The accessory consists of a soft shell which the Wii-mote and Nunchuk both slot into, and the ball can then be strapped to the hand. It can be used to emulate throwing as well as running. Follow the link to check out the pictures and further patent details.

For all you Mario fans in Sydney and Melbourne next month, the voice of Mario will be making three in-store visits. Charles Martinet has been voicing Mario for nearly 20 years, as well as other characters including Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. He will be visiting the Swanston Street EB Games in Melbourne on Wednesday the 9th of September at 11:30 am. He will then visit Myer Sydney City on Thursday the 10th of September at 1:00pm, followed by a visit to Harvey Norman Auburn on Saturday 12th September. There will be prizes available for the person best dressed as their favourite Nintendo character, as well as themed gift bags for the first 50 people in line.

And the exer-gaming trend continues with gym giant Fitness First set to release official accessories for the Wii. The range of accessories will include a Silicon Skin, a Wii Fit Yoga Mat, wrist and ankle weights and a full Wii Fit Workout Kit which offers ‘the perfect combination of resistance, safety and style.’ In case people were wondering, you could always buy non Wii-related yoga mats, weights etc. and I’m sure they’ll work just the same!


Playstation 3

Now I know that I was hoping that once the Slim PS3 and price cut were announced, I would be able to report some PS3 news not revolving around those topics. Sadly that is not the case just yet, so let’s start with that and get it out of the way! Anyway, last week a Japanese retailer has claimed that they will only make ¥700 (AU$8.95 at time of writing) for every PS3 Slim sold. That’s an absolute pittance. However, with expected increases in PS3 purchases, retailers and Sony will be able to make their money back via increased software sales. Meanwhile, the Slim PS3 has already surfaced in some stores in the US. We mentioned last week that the release date wasn’t official, and it looks like retailers are more than happy to sell the product once it arrives in store.

In Sony’s previous demonstrations of their motion controlling wand, two wands have been used. But in an interview with Eurogamer, President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that only one wand will be necessary. According to Yoshida, the ultimate goal is for gamers to have two controllers as this will enhance the experience. But as a PlayStation Eye camera is also required, having to buy only one wand controller will make the technology more accessible in terms of cost. It was also revealed in an interview with Richard Marks, involved with research and development for the PlayStation, that the controller will include an analogue trigger and rumble support.

The release date of Gran Turismo 5 has been speculated for a while now, but it looks like the game is definitely set for a 2009 release. An official brochure for the game handed out last week’s GamesCom mentioned a “4th quarter of 2009” release. The brochure also mentions the NASCAR and WRC championships, that there are 1000 cars in the game and the online leaderboards. Meanwhile, someone at GameStop has made a big error with a large advertisement for Forza 3 on PS3. Check out the pictures here. I wonder if anyone lost their job over that screw-up?

And finally, Sony’s pet simulating ‘game’, EyePet, will be released on November 17. So far this date has only been confirmed for the US, where it will retail for US$39.99 as a standalone title. For those without the necessary PS Eye to play the game, a bundle with the game and PS Eye will retail for US$59.99. An Australian release date has yet to be confirmed for the title. You can check out a video of the game in action here.


And now for the week's other news in brief:

·         We previously mentioned how Guitar Hero 5 will allow you to export your “World Tour” and “Smash Hits” titles across. This week we also find out that GH5 downloadable content won’t be compatible with the older titles due to new features in GH5.

·         The inaugural GamesCom was a huge success, with 245,000 attendees.  IGN have a wrap-up of the good and bad of the event.

·         Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is coming to the PSP.

·         Tony Hawk: Ride’s precise movements are tripping out real skaters.

·         A loophole has now made it legal to sell adult games to minors in the UK.

·         Meanwhile, Venezuela are trying to ban violent games altogether.

·         A console version of Diablo III is still a possibility.

·         Michael Jackson’s death killed the internet. Now Megan Fox might kill Xbox Live as she jumps onto Live to play Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: The Game on Sunday 30th of August at 3:00pm Pacific time (for the US obviously).

·         For those itching for Assassin’s Creed II to be released, here’s a look at some of the new items at your disposable.

·         A Gears of War II GOTY edition has been announced.

·         Sugar Ray Leonard and Anthony Mundine were out to promote Fight Night Round 4.... it’s been out for a while....

·         Socceroo Tim Cahill will be the face of FIFA 10 in Australia. The game is set for an October 1st launch.

·         Square-Enix of all companies, is set to publish Modern Warfare 2 in Japan.

·         Apparently Uncharted 2 would not work on the 360.

·         And if you can only watch one movie this year, make it “Mario Kart: The Movie.”

Thanks for reading gamers. Catch you all next week!


Article written be Phong Nguyen