Wednesday, December 20, 2006

PS3´s full power to remain untapped forever, says Sony

Sony really deserves every single word of bad press they get at the moment, I have come to accept now. Why, you ask? Because their executives are rubbish at communicating their product.

Sony Computer Entertainment exec Phil Harrison recently went on record, saying that the PlayStation3 is so powerful that "nobody will ever use 100 percent of its capability."

While that might sound impressive at face value, it is undoubtedly the most ridiculous statement someone can make about a product like this (one that is both so expensive and cutting edge) and is sure to drive potential buyers towards either competitor.

Think about it. It is like saying that a hair dryer is really powerful, but will never actually work at full output capacity. You still have to pay plenty extra for that extra power, although it will go unused, of course. Mind you, Mr. Harrison would make an excellent hair dryer, with all the hot air coming out of him these days.

I think that Harrison should be fired for making such moronic statements at a crucial time for what essentially is a great product. And I would not be surprised to see that happen soon, too. After all, last time I called for Ken Kutaragi to be sacked - and remember what happened just over a week later?

Source: MTV
Thanks to: Slashdot, Ars Technica

Monday, December 18, 2006

Early Wii controller prototypes

NSider forum user Japtar10101 has uploaded a picture from Nikkei Business magazine, apparently showing some early Wii controller prototypes.

God knows how we would have used that star controller, if it was meant as the main controller, at all. If not, there might be some ideas in that photo that Nintendo will realise further down the road.

Source: Japtar10101

´Metal Gear Solid 4´ no longer PS3 exclusive?, part II

The latest and highly anticipated installment in the hit series ´Metal Gear Solid´ will not be PlayStation exclusive, industry insider Daniel Boutros claims. On his blog Noooz, he reveals that an Xbox360 version of MGS4 has been confirmed behind closed doors.

It's coming a few months later than the PS3 game, but it's happening folks.

This is said to be because publishers - including Konami - don't believe there'll be enough PS3s out there by the time the game hits because of the blu ray diode failure issues. (...)

This came pretty much from the horse's mouth, so you can count on this being legit.

This is the second time rumours about MGS4 going multiplatform surface. In late October, gaming magazine EGM wondered if the game was coming to Xbox360. I regard this as a likely scenario, especially since the PS3 is drastically lagging in sales and struggling to get past the million mark.

Consider this alongside the news that a PlayStation3 game must sell at least 500.000 units in order to break even, as Namco president Takeo Takasu told Bloomberg in late November.

According to various sources, Sony has managed to sell between 500.000 and 800.000 consoles by now. Economically speaking, publishing MGS4 exclusively on PS3 makes no sense whatsoever.

Although it should be noted that exclusivity in the games industry has always been a relative term. After all, ´MGS2: Substance´ was released on Xbox only one year after ´MGS2: Sons of Liberty´ came out for PS2. So the real question here is how soon will an Xbox360 version of MGS4 show?

Sources: Noooz, Bloomberg
Thanks to: Joystiq, Kotaku

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wii hits two million mark

Sales of Nintendo´s Wii console have surpassed the two million mark, according to AMN´s Videogame Charts. Here are their current figures:

0,27m Japan
4,41m Americas
1,94m Others
6,62m in total

0,60m Japan
0,99m Americas
0,49m Others
2,08m in total

0,31m Japan
0,48m Americas
0,00m Others
0,79m in total

The other site playing the numbers game, NexGenWars, paints quite a different picture, particularly for the Xbox360:

8,60m in total

1,77m in total

0,46m in total

Even with the latter figures, Nintendo is not far away from having sold two million consoles. If they can sustain this pace, Nintendo has a real chance of becoming market leader by the summer. But, of course, it is too early to tell until all three consoles are readily available.

Sources: Videogame Charts, NexGenWars

Friday, December 15, 2006

Upgraded Wii to be released in spring?

Nintendo may be readying an upgraded Wii to be released in spring, which will cost $50 less and feature more colours, new rumours suggest.

eSports site GotFrag has apparently been given word by a store manager in a 'Toys "R" Us' outlet:

After talking to him a bit, the manager revealed a few things in light of the Wii consumer frenzy. He would go on to state that if they [the customers] would "just listen," they could get a "better system" in a few months.

A "better system?" As he would soon explain, Nintendo will be "relaunching" the Wii console sometime before or at the beginning of Spring 2007. The launch, which is said to see many different colors for the Wii system (as seen at E3), will also be accompanied by a hefty price drop from $250 to $200. (...)

Also note that it is undetermined if the "better system" statement includes technical upgrades to the Wii, as recent rumors have suggested.

While a DVD-enabled Wii has been confirmed for Japan, I seriously doubt that we will see an upgraded console for a reduced price so soon after launch. Also, a store manager would not be in on this, while the big news outlets appear to be clueless.

Perhaps there was some confusion here with Nintendo's recall of wrist straps. Most convincingly, though, I believe that Nintendo - still struggling to meet demands - will not burden itself with releasing more colours, further exaggerating the shortages for everyone who insists on matched accessories. And, finally, previous purchasers would surely feel cheated if they could have gotten a much better deal less than half a year later (remember the Xbox launch debacle).

Source: GotFrag
Thanks to: TheSmashMan

Thursday, December 14, 2006

European PS3 launch delayed further?

I have come across a new comment that gives rise to further speculation that Sony will delay the European launch of the PlayStation3 further. Speaking to The Associated Press (via Yahoo), Sony Corp. President Ryoji Chubachi made no mention of the March release date:

Sony also expects to meet its shipment target of 6 million PS3 ready by the end of the fiscal year ending March and will launch its next generation system in Europe as soon as possible, Chubachi said.

In early September, Sony pushed back the European launch from November 17th, naming March 2007 as the new date. Two months later, Phil Harrison declined to confirm that date, speaking to semi-official PlayStation blog Three Speech:

Given that all of our previous statements about launching in Europe simultaneously with the US and Japan turned out not to be the case, I would not like to make any definitive statements on that. It’s not my job to comment on hardware supply issues other than to say some very smart people are working very hard to catch up.

The blog later updated the story, quoting Sony officials as saying that the comments had been taken out of context.

A few days ago, though, Ken Kutaragi was quoted as saying that the European launch may be pushed back until May 2007. Again, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe responded to these fresh rumours, categorically ruling them out.

Now, Chubachi´s comments seem to give further credence to the console´s European launch being delayed beyond March.

I will go out on a limb here and state that Sony will not meet March. They might try to launch nevertheless, but I do not think they can rally more than 100.000 units. In my opinion, it would be wiser to delay again and have a sufficient shipment in place.

Also, consider that these delay rumours mostly came from SCEI, while SCEE did all the debunking. This is Sony Japan shafting Europe once again.

EDIT The good people at CVG are citing an anonymous source as saying that the European PS3 launch may even be delayed until September.

Sources: The Associated Press (via Yahoo), Three Speech

Friday, December 08, 2006

The wait is over

Thanks to the nice guys over at K-Videogames, the following ugly mugshot has now been made available on the internet. You might not be able to see it, but somewhere underneath that wild stubble is a happy smile.

Source: K-Videogames (German)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Get a Wii tomorrow - meet Falafelkid

Right now, I am going to have to apologize to all but my German-speaking readers, since this will be my first (and last) post in German. It relates to the only midnight sale of the Wii in Germany. So don´t you Americans or Japanese readers complain! You are playing Wii already ;)

Toys "R" Us hat für den späten Donnerstag eine "Wii night" mit Mitternachtsverkauf in ihrem Store in Köln-Holweide geplant. Vor allem soll eine ausreuchende Stückzahl verfügbar sein, um auch noch ein paar Kurzentschlossene zu bedienen.

Deutschlands erste Wii kommt zur Geisterstunde

Riesen Party für Nintendos Neue: Mit den beiden Comedy-Stars Erkan und Stefan startet TOYS“R“US in Köln die Wii Night. Nur hier gibt’s die begehrte Konsole nämlich schon ab Mitternacht

Köln, 04. Dezember 2006 – Sie ist klein, sie ist begehrt – sie ist hier noch nicht zu haben. Erst am 8. Dezember kommt die Nintendo Wii endlich auch nach Deutschland. Für alle Fans, die es nicht erwarten können, hat sich TOYS“R“US was ganz Besonderes überlegt: Schon in der Nacht von Donnerstag auf Freitag machen Erkan und Stefan im Kölner Store an der Bergisch-Gladbacher-Straße richtig Party. Zur Wii Night mit Star-Besetzung gehen die ersten Konsolen nämlich schon ab 24 Uhr über die Ladentheke. Früher ist die begehrte Wii in Deutschland wahrscheinlich nirgendwo zu haben. Nur bei TOYS“R“US in Köln gibt’s den exklusiven Nachtverkauf. Der Store in Holweide hat ausnahmsweise bis früh morgens geöffnet.

Und damit die Zeit bis Mitternacht schnell vorüber geht, stehen im Shop vorher schon acht Konsolen zum Austoben parat. Wer vorm Ausprobieren sehen will, wie’s richtig funktioniert, schaut einfach Erkan und Stefan beim Gamen zu. Die beiden duellieren sich ab 22 Uhr zu coolen Sounds auf der Wii-Bühne. Nach zwei Stunden gibt’s dann zum offiziellen Verkaufsstart endlich für alle eine eigene Konsole – zumindest so lange der Vorrat reicht.

Aus allen Stores in Deutschland hat TOYS“R“US zusätzliche Konsolen für die Kölner Wii Night abgezweigt. Ob’s für alle Fans reichen wird? „Beim Verkaufsstart in New York haben die Leute bis zu 40 Stunden vor den Shops auf die ersten Konsolen gewartet“, so Helmut Hort, stellvertretender Geschäftsführer von TOYS“R“US in Deutschland. Sollte der Hype um die neue Spaßbox hier genauso groß sein, wird’s eng in Köln. „Dann müssen wir sehen, ob’s reicht. Mehr Konsolen auf einem Fleck wird’s vor Weihnachten aber auch in anderen Geschäften nicht geben.“

Toys "R" Us hat mir gegenüber auch gesagt, dass man bei dem Event schon für die zweite Lieferung vorbestellen kann - und die Konsole dann garantiert noch vor Weihnachten bekommt.

Eine Anfahrtsskizze gibt es hier. Ich werde auch vor Ort sein und meine eigene Konsole eintüten. Wer noch schnell eine haben möchte, kann sie hier sicherlich bekommen. Viel Glück.

Source: Toys "R" Us

Friday, December 01, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: PS3 is Sony's last console, says analyst

Ken Kutaragi's promotion was already understood as a plot to remove him from daily PlayStation business. Now, analysts believe that this restructuring is the fist sign of Sony abandoning the PlayStation hardware altogether.

The Financial Times reports:

Analysts said that Mr Hirai´s promotion to a global role at SCE could mark a critical shift in management thinking, with Sony changing its emphasis so that the current generation of games console will be its last as a hardware manufacturer.

"The appointment of Hirai could be the start of a shift from hardware to software," said Yuta Sakurai, an analyst at Nomura. "I cannot now imagine a PlayStation4."

Mr Sakurai said that Mr Hirai´s new global portfolio puts a predominantly software-focused manager in charge of the company, adding that SCE´s future would be shaped by Mr Hirai´s relationship with Phil Harrison, the president of SCE´s worldwide studios.

Analysts argue that while Mr Kutaragi, a brilliant engineer, was the right man to run SCE as a hardware powerhouse, Sony may now see better opportunities as a pure maker of games.

Now, I am sure we all agree that this view ("I cannot now imagine a PlayStation4") appears to be somewhat rash, even given the ´annus horibilis´ Sony has experienced with the PlayStation3. This may be one lone analyst´s interpretation of the SCE shakeup.

At the same time, bear in mind that this was part of an FT article and the newspaper is perhaps the most reputable business daily in Europe. And considering that Sony´s share price dropped further (while Nintendo gained a remarkable 4% the same day), it is certainly a theory worth considering.

EDIT After Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter called Sakurai´s suggestion "foolish" - while Sony´s US spokesperson Dave Karraker offered only a lacklustre rebuttal - SCEE´s Vice President of Technology, Paul Holman, has apparently gone all out on the issue.

Australian lifestyle and technology magazine Smarthouse quotes him as saying that there will be a PS4, but not until at least 2010. Further, and more immediately, Sony seems to toy with the idea of copying the Wiimote:
Sony will introduce a series of firmware upgrades that will give the PS3 more media centre capability while allowing for the introduction of third party applications and hardware "Such as interactive controllers" similar to the Nintendo Wii he said.

Source: The Financial Times

Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Wii channels to be announced

I have learned that there are more Wii channels on the way, other than the ones already announced. As it stands, there are nine in total if you count them all: Disc, Mii, Photo, Forecast, News, Shop, Virtual Console, the Internet Channel and the Message Board.

The new channels, presumably, is where the elusive secrets are to be found that Perrin Kaplan hinted at.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wii sells 600.000 units in eight days

Wii has sold 600.000 units in the eight days since its North American launch on November 19th. The total volume of hardware, first party software and accessories is billed at 190 million US Dollars, Nintendo of America (registration required) announced. They quote their president Reggie Fils-Aime as saying:

Even with sales already in excess of 600,000 units, demand continues to exceed supply, as it's clear this is one of the ‘gotta-have' products for the holiday season. We've shipped retailers several times the amount of hardware the other company was able to deliver for its launch around the same time - and we still sold out. Given the inclusive nature of Wii game play, we're seeing this new form of video gaming is already a huge hit with gamers and newcomers alike. It continues to be a phenomenal launch.

´Zelda: Twilight Princess sold more than 454.000 copies, meaning that a phenomenal 75 percent of all Wii buyers also purchased this game.

EDIT Meanwhile, the Taiwanese DigiTimes reports about a number defects with PS3 units. The cited problems are quite vague, though, and most are already known:

Problems related to overheating and inability to start the machine were reported since the PS3 launched in mid-November. Reports have circulated recently in the US retail market saying that when used with older high-definition (HD) TVs that support only a 1080i resolution, the PS3 displays 720p resolution games at only 480p. Sources at Sony said this problem could be caused by a firmware problem and that the company will resolve the problem as soon as possible.

In Taiwan, some users were complaining that the new game console is not compatible with some PS2 game titles and that the machine would shut down when it overheated, said the sources. After consulting with Taiwan's Consumer Protection Commission and distributors, the Taipei branch of Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong (SCEH) agreed to replace consoles found to have serious defects.

Source: Nintendo press server (registration required)
Thanks to: Joystiq, Game Daily

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wii sells twice as many units as PS3 on eBay

The online auction house eBay has sold almost 15.000 PS3 consoles and a little over 26.000 Wii units so far, Reuters reports via Yahoo:

Popular items on eBay included Sony's PlayStation 3 -- 14,675 have been sold on eBay for an average price of $1,186.39 from November 17 to November 24 -- and the Nintendo Wii. Since that product debuted on November 19, 26,708 have been sold for an average price of $412.53.

Albeit limited to resellers on this particular platform, these are the first official sales figures released concerning the two contenders in the next-generation console war.

Of course, there were many more Wii consoles available than PS3s. But it should still come as something of a surprise that more Wiis were sold on eBay, since most PS3 buyers so far seemed to have been resellers while people in the Wii queues appeared to want the console for themselves.

Also, consider that the PS3 figures show sales over eight days, while the Wii figures only include six days of sales.

EDIT Just for reference (and also to brag just a tiny little bit), this story has now been covered by GoNintendo and Codename Revolution. Thanks to Kevin and Fahid for linking me.

Source: Yahoo

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mass media favour Wii over PS3

It seems that more and more mass media are favouring the Wii over the PS3, the Washington Post being the most recent example. I have compiled some of the more snappy quotes below.

This comes after Gamasutra found that the majority of developers were personally more excited about the new Nintendo console.

In the Wii-PS3 Playoff, Nintendo Upsets Sony on the Fun Factor
Most of my friends who picked up the PS3's controller ended up frustrated. The typical game for the system requires players to have memorized where all the buttons are, and it's much harder to just pick up a controller and have a good time. Some of the verdicts they offered are unprintable. (...)

While the people in my group preferred looking at the PS3's games, they preferred playing the Wii. (...) I have never seen a bunch of non-gamers get into this stuff like this, and I have never heard anybody laugh so much while playing any video game. A few of them now say they plan to buy the system for themselves. (...)

Nintendo got one feature right with the system on Day One: It's just darn fun.

Washington Post

Sony's Playstation 3 is Not Worth the Hype
People who have been camping out for days finally get their PS3s today. Sadly, both their time and money has been wasted. (...) I wouldn't recommend buying one, not even for the regular price, which is plenty expensive without the import markup. (...)

Sony's launch line-up just isn't that interesting. Almost all the PS3's outstanding games — F.E.A.R., Madden NFL '07, Need for Speed: Carbon, Call of Duty 3 — are available on the Xbox 360, and most (all except F.E.A.R.) are out for the Wii, too. There just isn't the leverage there to make buying a PS3 de rigeur. (...)

Give it time. The price will (probably) come down. Sony's online strategy will (probably) mature. More decent games will come out — the Playstation3 is notoriously difficult to develop for, and game-makers are still figuring out how to get the most out of it. Next holiday season, it just might be worth it. For now it's pretty much moot anyway.

TIME magazine

A Weekend Full of Quality Time With PlayStation 3
Howard Stringer, you have a problem. Your company’s new video game system just isn’t that great. (...) Sony blithely insisted that the PS3 would leapfrog all competition to deliver an unsurpassed level of fun.

Put bluntly, Sony has failed to deliver on that promise.

Measured in megaflops, gigabytes and other technical benchmarks, the PlayStation 3 is certainly the world’s most powerful game console. It falls far short, however, of providing the world’s most engaging overall entertainment experience. (...)

“What’s weird is that the PS3 was originally supposed to come out in the spring, and here it came out in the fall, and it still doesn’t feel finished,” Christopher Grant, managing editor of Joystiq, one of the world’s biggest video-game blogs, said on the telephone Saturday night. “It’s really not the all-star showing they should have had at launch. Sony is playing catch-up in a lot of ways now, not just in terms of sales but in terms of the basic functionality and usability of the system.” (...)

If you can’t find one, don’t fret. Sony still has a lot of work to do. As Mr. Grant of Joystiq put it: “Maybe in six months it’ll be finished. Maybe by next fall I’ll be able to do all the cool stuff. I’m still kind of waiting.”

New York Times

PlayStation 3 can't hide its flaws
Cut through the hype, and the desire for the newest, flashiest gadget and the product is not as compelling as it might seem. The PS3, for all its power, feels incomplete at launch. (...)

Controlling games is pretty close to what PlayStation veterans are used to. The major shift this time is Sony has included a motion sensor in its controller (which has been redubbed the Sixaxis). In "NBA 07," for instance, twisting the controller will let you juke around an opposing player.

The problem is that the motion doesn't feel natural here, as it does with the Nintendo Wii. (...) You get the impression they were caught off guard when the feature was announced -- and rushed to find some way to include it.

Gone also is the rumble effect from the controller -- an omission that has upset many Sony loyalists. Personally, I miss the shaking. The feeling of a slight rumble in your hands as you fired a virtual weapon added to the fun. (...)

If you're somehow able to find a PlayStation 3 on a store shelf this year, is it worth buying one? Sadly, the answer is not yet. The system is too expensive for what most people will get out of it -- and the initial slate of games don't offer enough innovation or thrills to justify the purchase.

CNN Money

Playtesters say 'Wii' to console war question
After plowing through several hours of gaming and many boxes of pizza, the resounding favorite of our playtest was ...drumroll please...the Wii. (...)

“I’m definitely more excited about picking up a Wii,” said Eisner, a serious gamer. He liked the fact that he could not only play the Wii with his daughter but that, as our play test proved, the Wii quickly turned game time into party time.

With the PS3 and the Wii each hooked up in neighboring rooms, we found the PS3 sitting all alone at several points during the evening (hooked up to a giant high definition TV no less) while all the gamers gathered around the Wii and played together. (...)

The Wii just can’t compete with the visual splendor that pours forth from the PS3. In fact, games played on the Wii look like they're being played on nothing more than a slightly souped-up GameCube.

Most of our guest players didn’t seem to mind so much. Still though, for us game reviewers it was something of a disappointment. The PS3 and the Xbox 360 set the standard high, and once you get used to living in that kind of luxurious visual world, it’s hard to go back.


While scuffles are breaking out over the PS3, our testing of both machines found that the Wii was more entertaining - at less than half the price. With its innovative Nunchuk controller, you'll be waving around your arms to battle enemies or swing a baseball bat. (...)

Though the graphics are stunning, the PS3 isn't that much different from the PS2. And compatibility issues mean it won't play as many old PlayStation games as were originally promised. The $500 version, meanwhile, isn't worth it. You have to pay $600 to get the complete package - a huge expense for a video game player, even if it does play DVDs as well. (...)

The Wii offers up a truly unique take on playing video games by getting people off their couches to play, introducing a new skill set (coordination is a must) and inducing much smack talk (like when you whiff every time you swing in Wii Baseball). Plus, Nintendo intends to ship 4 million units worldwide, so chances are you'll be able to get your hands on one soon - and for half the price.

New York Post

Release of PlayStation 3 Becomes a Waiting Game
Kaz Hirai, the chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment America, said that the company wanted "to elicit an emotional response from you, good, bad or indifferent." He said that creating such an emotional bond was the first step in making a sale, but that Sony also wanted to convey that the system is a good deal.

"It's not too expensive," Mr. Hirai said. "We're offering fantastic value to consumers." Future marketing efforts will emphasize Sony's position that the PlayStation 3 is built with high-end components that will still work in 5 or even 10 years. "Look at how long you'll be able to enjoy your investment," Mr. Hirai said.

Jim Louderback, editor in chief of PC Magazine, who recently reviewed both the PlayStation 3 and the Wii, said that idea did not sound realistic. "Considering there's a new generation of video game consoles every five years, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me," Mr. Louderback said.

International Herald Tribune / New York Times

System Check
Clad in a stylish tuxedo-chic shell and accessorized with cutting-edge electronic gadgetry, the PS3 is all dressed up...with no place to go. Many gamers, especially those who don't own an HDTV, are paying $600 (or more, if they give into the eBay vultures) for features that they (for now) can't fully appreciate. It's going to take a while before game programmers figure out how to harness the PS3's power and deliver some truly next-gen gaming experiences. Its online network is also a work in progress that has a long way to go before challenging the Xbox Live service. While it's human nature to want something that someone else wants, it's a smart move to resist temptation and sit on the sidelines until there are more compelling and practical reasons to commit to the PS3. B (...)

Not quite a next-generation console, the Wii must rely on its unique game interface — and a steady stream of titles that make full use of the Wii-mote and the companion Nunchuck. Is the Wii-mote a novelty that will soon wear thin? Beyond the healthy legions of Nintendo loyalists, the Wii's low price, strong lineup of nonviolent titles, and gentle learning curve might actually attract the kind of players (women, parents) normally put off by testosterone-fueled games that reward mastery of a dozen or more buttons. B+

Entertainment Weekly

Review: PS3, Wii Boost Gaming Experience
The Wii was the most fun and the easiest to use. It can deliver on Nintendo's promise to bring more non-gamers into the fold. (...) It's not that I wasn't impressed by the PS3 games, but after breaking into a sweat from a few hours with the Wii, sitting on my couch to shoot aliens in "Resistance: Fall of Man" felt pedestrian. (...)

Declaring one of these systems an overall winner is impossible, mostly because of the oddball Wii. It's just so different from its rivals, it's almost unfair to compare it to the PS3 or the Xbox 360.

But the Wii's unique controller and approachable $250 price could make it the surprise hit of the three.

ABC News

The Wii: One Small Step for Nintendo, One Giant Leap for Gaming
Nintendo's Wii home video-gaming console (...) will put to rest any fears that it won't be able to compete with Sony's super-powered PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's already established Xbox 360. (...)

Despite its technical shortcomings, the Wii is a whole lot of fun to play. And the suggested retail price of about $250 makes it an attractive competitor to the $399 Xbox 360 and, especially, the PS3, the "full" model of which costs a whopping $599.

With that kind of price point, hardcore gamers might even consider picking up a Wii alongside a PS3 or Xbox 360. The Wii will simply play games — and come up with new ways of playing them — in a way that none of its competitors will be able to match.

In fact, after playing with a Wii for a while, PlayStation and Xbox can start to look like an exercise in nihilistic thumb gymnastics.

FOX News

A Wii Workout: When Videogames Hurt
The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion -- resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders -- even something some have dubbed "Wii elbow."

"It's harder than playing basketball," says Kaitlin Franke, a 12-year-old from Louisville, Ky. She has been camped out in front of her family's TV, fine-tuning her bowling motion and practicing boxing footwork in two of the Wii's games. Almost immediately, she says, her right arm started to feel numb.(...)

Another hazard: collisions. All those flailing arms can sometimes inadvertently smack into lamps, furniture and even competing players., a popular site that reviews videogames, said one player testing the Wii lost her grip and sent the controller flying into a wall. Blaine Stuart of Rochester, N.Y., mistakenly whacked his fiancée, Shelly Haefele, while playing tennis and also accidentally hit his dog while bowling.

Nintendo itself warns players about this risk just before some of the games begin. A message flashes up on the screen saying: "Make sure there are no people or objects around you that you might bump into while playing." Some Wii games also have pop-up reminders every 15 minutes advising gamers to take a break.

Wall Street Journal

EDIT 1UP has compiled a similar overview of mass media commenting on the Wii and on the PS3, respectively.

Thanks to: Zeldaphr3ak, GoNintendo

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Reggie confirms microphone?

My good friend Product_Number_18 has come across an interesting Nintendo quote that might hint at a previously unannounced Wii feature.

Nintendo president Reginald Fils-Aime has, perhaps unwittingly, mentioned a microphone that will be utilized more in future software. Reggie said this towards the end of a recent interview with the Forbes Video Network:

There are things that I think we are just now scratching the surface of, in terms of what the system can do. One piece is the microphone and how the microphone enhances the gameplay.

Was this just a mistake? Or did Reggie unwittingly reveal a previously unannounced Wii feature? I have always believed that there was a microphone built into the Wiimote. What do you think?

Source: Forbes Video Network
Thanks to: Product_Number_18

Kutaragi responsible for losing GTA exclusivity

Apparently, Sony Computer Entertainment - and Ken Kutaragi in person - is to blame for losing exclusivity of both ´GTA IV´ and ´Assassin´s Creed´, respected industry journalist N'Gai Croal reports.
The next installment of Ubisoft's Splinter Cell. Downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV. All locked up by Microsoft corporate vice president Peter Moore, his indefatigable team, and Uncle Bill's bottomless wallet.

Moore's job, however, was made easier by the fact that for the greater part of this year, PlayStation chief Ken Kutaragi hadn't finalized the business terms for independent publishers on the PS3. And without that, he was reluctant to greenlight any expenditures on Western third-party exclusives. In previous generations, Kutaragi's slowness hadn't been much of a problem because the first two PlayStations launched in Japan 8-12 months ahead of North America, leaving plenty of time to nail things down with Western publishers. But with the PS3 launching in North America just a week after Japan--and a year after a fiercely competitive Microsoft--Kutaragi's tardiness became a major issue. (...)

While Kutaragi dragged his feet, Microsoft's top brass called these third-parties almost daily, asking each of them, "What would it take for you to publish these games on 360?" Finally, the executives could wait no longer, and both Take-Two/Rockstar and Ubisoft cut deals to make their games available on Xbox 360 as well as PS3.

I seriously cannot believe how Sony appears to be doing everything wrong with the PS3. These two third-parties were willing to give their console exclusivity and Sony failed in merely finalizing those deals. Sony execs appear to be deliberately seeking to damage the console, the brand and the company. Ken Kutaragi needs to resign.

Source: HuGeo,
Thanks to: , PSX Extreme

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Zelda retrospective

Here is the fantastic six-part Zelda retrospective, courtesy of Game Trailers and posted by Joystiq. It is brilliantly produced and well worth every second of it, both for Zelda beginners as well as experts.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Source: Game Trailers
Thanks to: Joystiq

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wii sold ´well over a million´ on Sunday, estimates Next-Gen

Nintendo may have sold in excess of a million Wii consoles on launch day, Next-Gen estimates:

Nintendo Wii got off to a flyer yesterday with major retailers reporting sell-outs. Although Nintendo has not released official figures, day one sell-through should be at well over a million.

This would significantly up the current figure noted by NexGen Wars, which at the time of writing stands at just below 700.000. Their most recent figure is here:

You may ask yourself how that site comes up with those figures. I asked the owner about how he gathers the figures and this is what he mailed back:

There is no special secret to getting these. It basically just takes time and research to estimate the numbers as closely as possible.

What I have done is gotten charts of monthly sales for the past few years, and figured out certain trends. Then I have gotten past sales data and estimated the pace at which the consoles will sell. After I have the estimate and the counter running, I just watch out for anny official announcements, and adjust anything accordingly.

The site has been up since early July, and I haven't had to adjust the sales for the Xbox 360 since then. So far my estimation method has been pretty much right on. Now for the new consoles it is a little harder since there is no previous sales data to go off of. What I do for these is research how many they are expecting to have on launch and by the end of the year. For the launch counter I get it to around the number expected, and then I slow it down to pace it so that it will reach a good estimate for the end of the year, and as usual I will adjust anything if any official word comes in.

No, the numbers aren't perfect, but so far it seems to have been a very good estimate.

I myself am confident that NexGen Wars is as reliable a source as it gets, in the absence of official figures. In this case, I do believe the Next-Gen estimate, though, and would not be surprised if NexGen adjusted their numbers accordingly.

Nintendo refused to comment on this story. In fact, the company has not released any shipment and sales figures concerning the US launch - and they told me that they do not know when that data will be made available.

EDIT The owner of NexGen Wars has responded to my request for details on Wii and PS3 numbers. here is his response:
The Wii and PS3 numbers are a little bit more rough than the 360, but what I have looked at for those is trends in launches. I have then taken these trends and compiled the data with how many supposedly shipped and made it to stores. Assuming these shipment numbers are right, then the fact that everything sold out around launch means the Wii and PS3 numbers should be a pretty good estimate, but when any official word is released I will be able to adjust and more accurately estimate the numbers from then on.

Sources: Next-Gen, NexGen Wars
Thanks to: Joystiq

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wii is here, now where are all the fish?

Stop the clocks and rewrite the history books... Nintendo Wii has launched. With it, a new era of gaming will be ushered in. An era of gaming that prioritizes fun and friends over pixels and polygons. One where videogaming once more becomes an inclusive experience for families and people of all ages, rather than create a distinct subculture that divides societies, bitter people on each side.

At least, that is the idea.

Prior to launch, almost every sign has been a positive one for Nintendo. The current leader in the home console market, Sony, has suffered some very unfortunate setbacks. Never before was dominance in this market so much within Nintendo´s grasp, since losing it more than ten years ago.

Now, the company must deliver, though.

Where just a day ago words were the only weapon of choice, the company now must carry on fighting with nothing but production and shipment numbers, sell-through data and software tie-ratios.

Where the presidents and marketing people were sitting until yesterday, the production line managers, technicians and factory workers take the helm.

And where Nintendo has claimed the direction to be, which they wanted to move in, people need to populate the roads leading there and tread on what up until now were untrodden paths.

There undoubtedly is a blue ocean out there. Now all it takes for Nintendo is to have plenty of fish in that sea.

EDIT You can follow the numbers game over at NexGen Wars. This is what things look like at this very moment:

EDIT And here is the first footage of the Wii launch, courtesy of CNN. The footage is from New York City.

EDIT It has happened: According to NexGen Wars, Nintendo Wii is now the second console, leaving Sony in third place (pun intended).

Guy in Wiimote costume

There was a guy in a Wiimote costume walking around the PS3 lines this week. Have a look:

This is not something I would normally post, but it is quite entertaining ("You know what? Wii has rumble in the controller." - "[sad pause] Yeah.") and also allows for some degree of speculation. Is this just a fanboy with too much time on his hands or is this some kind of viral marketing? What do you think?

Source: YouTube
Thanks to: Xtremeboarder