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Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.30.06

posted on June 30th, 2006 by jay

Hot on Sony’s heels, Bill Gates has hired Xzibit to be the spokesrapper for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

MS copies Sony, says Sony
First of all, let me make it clear that I will never trust anyone named Kaz, Baz, or Waz. Chaz from Phantasy Star IV and Raz from Psychonauts are alright, though. Moving on, Kaz Hirai has told the Official PlayStation Magazine “Every time we go down a path, we look behind and [Microsoft is] right there – we just can’t shake these guys. I wish that they would come up with some strategies of their own, but they seem to be going down the path of everything we do.”

What is he talking about? I’m not sure; I guess I’ll have to buy the magazine to see if he actually gives a single example. He must be talking about business strategies because Sony isn’t exactly known as an innovator, besides from that rumble feature they invented. Oh wait, nevermind.

PS3 game prices may be higher than expected
Oh, Kaz, what is it this time? Hirai says PS3 games could sell for a bit higher than $60, but it’s unlikely that they’ll go for $100. Whew, because I can easily afford $75 games but $100 games would bankrupt me. Does this mean that bargain PS3 titles will cost around $40 a piece? If Nintendo can keep games at $50 and under they really may have more of a chance than I expected.

Sega to revive American arcades
Gamasutra interviewed GameWorks (Sega’s American arcade chain) vice-president of sales and marketing Clint Manny about the state of our arcades. Unfortunately, Manny uses the word synergy three times so it’s hard to fight the urge to dismiss him as a marketing zombie.

Xbox Live fans still waiting for Street Fighter II
SFII could be incredibly important. Other companies may use it as a litmus test for old games re-released on Xbox Arcade. If it goes well then maybe we will see not only re-releases of old games but also more small games by independent designers. Here’s hoping for a multiplayer port of Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em.

Just kidding, no one takes this guy seriously.

Henry Jenkins has a blog, a book and better PR people than us
Jenkins is a Comparative Media guy from MIT and he has a lot of heft in the adult world. Even Republicans have to take him a little seriously because they want to send their children to MIT (or Bob Jones University — Now with black people!). The good news for us is that he is a staunch defender of games. But this wouldn’t be news WE care about if I didn’t now tell a personal anecdote (it’d be news you care about). I met Jenkins and have to say I was very disappointed. Perhaps judging him entirely on how he answered one question is a bit ludicrous, but I am nothing if not ludicrous.

“Do you think it’s designers problem or publishers problem that games are inaccessible to women? I can understand why a designer doesn’t add many deep parts for women because not all men (who are the majority of designers) know how a woman’s mind works. For example, Camus is criticized for not including any major women characters in his novels, but if he feels he would be overstepping what he knows to include women then it’s hard to blame him. I think it should be the publisher’s responsibility to find development teams that are good at making different kinds of games and the responsibility should not fall on the designer.”

OK, so the thing about Camus is something I didn’t actually get a chance to say, but I wish I had. Maybe he would’ve put a little more thought into his completely stock answer. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was generic as the Sims is boring. We need to include women in the process, blah blah blah, I’m an MIT professor and you’re not. Something like that.

That reminds me, we are looking for women writers. Just send your cup size and weight. Maybe a sample of writing, too.

Kojima and Nomura like the PS3
Square’s Nomura and Konami’s Kojima have pledged to support the PS3. Among other silly things, Kojima said, “The best thing would be a PS3 with controls like the Wii.” This reveals that he likes the new form of input but thinks graphics are more important. He also compared the PS3 to a movie theater, a 360 to a DVD and a Wii to a TV show, further driving home the clear fact that the man wants to make movies, not games.

The announcement is good for Sony for obvious reasons but also because Microsoft’s chances of success in Japan are slimmer for every Japanese developer Sony wins over. The announcement was also good for United Artists, who saw their stock rise by two whole points after Kojima called the PS3 a movie theater.

It’s hard to tell from the low quality, non-PS3 screen shots, but his cape is made of discarded blankets.

First canceled PS3 game?
Theseis is reportedly the first PS3 game canceled due to the high cost of developing on the console. The problem is a PS3 version of Theseis was likely never planned. Now the internet denizens are left to decide if PS3 Land, the site that reported the games cencelation due to monetary issues, made the whole story up. If they did, they got plenty of traffic from it. There’s also the possibility that the games developer, Track7games, actually did tell PS3 Land that the PS3 version of Theseis was canceled. Certainly many people had never even heard of the game until now, so it may have been a PR move. Then there’s the possibility is that the developer is not revealing the whole truth in their official statements and PS3 land ran an accurate story. The final possibility is that Track7games is a single homeless man. This would explain both why the developer cannot afford to port Theseis to the PS3 and why the main character of the game survives by eating garbage.

PSP to emulate PSX games
The UKs PSP Magazine reported that 7,000 PS1 games would run on the PSP’s PS1 emulator. That seems slightly excessive. On the positive side, Sega released a handheld that played Genesis games and it took the world by storm. Hmm…release mostly games from an old console…eat batteries like mad…try to convince the public that you’re cooler than Nintendo…come from a company that is spelled with an S, a vowel, a consonant then a vowel…

4 Comments

  1. bawitback said on June 30, 2006:

    interesting articles. $70 bucks for a game? Unheard of since the SNES days.

  2. jay said on July 1, 2006:

    I remember a story of my brother buying Ys for the Master system for 80 or 90 dollars then leaving it somewhere in the mall (the system was so unpopular that when he came back half an hour later looking for it no one had taken it). In all fairness to Sony, an $80 game in ’88 hurt a bit more than a $70 game today.

  3. Christian said on July 1, 2006:

    This is true jay, but at the same time you must remember that a lot of those 80 dollar games were RPG’s. They were huge in size for the time, and you know as well as anyone that if you played them sans help, it could be quite a lot of game time. Still expensive, but there was some value to it.

    With Sony, there’s no logic. The games haven’t proven that they’ll be leaps and bounds above 360 games, and probably won’t be. Furthermore Blu Ray movies have shown that the new medium doesn’t necessitate higher prices. Plus, not every game is going to be 40 hour epic. Hell, most probably won’t even be 7 hours of good fun. The only thing excuse they can use is high development cost, but if that’s the case then we better see something special.

    Basically, if this is the game they want to play, then I want to see that PS3 horsepower being used for things other than polygons and lighting effects. Physics, AI, I don’t care. Just show me soemthing next generation, or I won’t be plunking down any coin for their games.

  4. Dan said on July 2, 2006:

    The cheap but so oh so lame (in name only) Wii is getting better all the time.

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