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Currents Top Ten I Blizzard Thinks Portable I June Sales Results Show Overall Decline I Sakaguchi's Games Won't Appear at TGS I PSP Sales Data Released, Glimpse of Future I Sony Wins Lawsuit I Stock Ticker
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Issue #16 For Adults Only July 23, 2005


Front Page

I'm gone for three issues and everything falls apart -- at least San Andreas anyway. The column, however, is as great as ever thanks to the man whose name will become a misnomer when he reaches old age, Mr. Billy Young. So how about that crazy new rating? The way I see it, for Rockstar to publish a game with a sex scene still coded into it, regardless of how easy or difficult the scene is to access, is irresponsible and they should have seen this coming. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the scene was planted purposely; as they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Even though I think that Rockstar was being irresponsible, I also think that people are overreacting to the situation a bit too much. The scene isn't actually a part of the game -- you have to go out of your way to even see it. I don't see how that qualifies for a re-rating of the game, but I guess that's the way things are. Even then, what's the big deal? The jump from an 'M' rating to an 'AO' rating only means that instead of having to be 17 to play the game, you now have to be 18. Darn. I fail to see how a scene of nudity is fine for an 18 year old, but not for someone a year younger. Oh well, the law is the law I guess. And now someone's claiming that the 'T' rated Sims 2 also shows full-frontal nudity when a code is applied, so we'll see if that gets a re-rating as well in the near future.

I know that had nothing to do with RPGs, but it's a hot current topic in the industry that'll probably see a Close-Up feature before long. Since this is an RPG site, I decided to blurb about it in my opening rather than write any stories on it. So there you are. Go read your column.



 Currents Top Ten

College football season is just around the corner and that means that the latest slew of NCAA titles are out on the shelves. According to the list, you people are buying them. This is all fine and dandy, but you're still not buying RPGs, which is neither fine nor dandy. Congrats to EA, though.

After football, the Halo 2 multiplayer maps take third this week. I guess it's easy to see who's buying the most games: the casual gamers. This is weird, because you'd think hardcore gamers would be the ones buying the most games. It's a sad day for hardcore gamers, indeed. The ever-controversial GTA: San Andreas for Xbox is still on the list, though with retailers now banning the game don't expect it to last. Oddly enough, a former best-seller has made a reappearance here months after its initial shine, so welcome back Star Wars: Battlefront.


Position Title Publisher Platform
1 NCAA Football 06 EA Sports
2 NCAA Football 06 EA Sports
3 Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack Microsoft Game Studios
4 Sid Meier's Pirates! 2K Games
5 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rockstar Games
6 Fantastic 4 Activision
7 Destroy All Humans! THQ
8 Conker: Live and Reloaded Microsoft Game Studios
9 Star Wars: Battlefront LucasArts
10 FlatOut Empire Interactive / VU Games


Source: GameSpot



 Blizzard Thinks Portable

Blizzard

Are you a fan of Diablo II or Starcraft? Do you hate being unable to play these games anywhere and everywhere? Fear not, for reprieve may soon be on the way. According to a report from Gamesindustry.biz, the latest Blizzard Insider newsletter asks recipients which handheld they would like to play Diablo II on. This newsletter also asks if subscribers would be interested in playing Starcraft on the Nintendo DS.

Perhaps if Blizzard gets some good feedback, Diablo fans may soon be no longer burdened with cables and cords. This handheld title would also be the first such title to be developed by Blizzard, though the company has published handheld games in the past.

Source: GameSpy



 June Sales Results Show Overall Decline

Video game sales results for the month of June have been released by NPD and things look good, yet not-so-good overall. Sales in June increased by two percent to the grand old number of $388 million. That's the good part. This growth is due in part to the best-selling titles GTA: San Andreas, Medal of Honor: European Assault, Pokémon Emerald, and Star Wars Episode III.

Looking only at game sales by platform compared to those from last June, Xbox games saw 14 percent increase, PS2 dropped by 6 percent, and GameCube titles were out a massive 38 percent. Overall, software sales were down 4 percent from last year.

Hardware is also on the decline this month at a 6 percent decrease, compared with a 4 percent decrease last year. This month is also the first month of the year to see a decline. Despite the declines, PS2 is still the top-selling console, claiming 27 percent of all hardware units sold. When compared with last year, though, PS2 sales are down 17 percent this year, while Xbox and GameCube are down 35 and 36 percent, respectively.


Source: GameSpot



 Sakaguchi's Games Won't Appear at TGS
Xbox360

So you're in Japan with a pass to the upcoming Tokyo Game Show sitting in your hot little hand. Imagine all of the exciting new games you're going to be experiencing before long. Unfortunately, two of them won't be Hironobu Sakaguchi's new Xbox 360 RPGs, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

Sakaguchi told Famitsu magazine that the development of both projects is going well. "The screen is starting to get developed, and we've been able to decide on the orientation of its graphics, and what kind of lighting and effects we want. We're currently in the process of making tons of [additional] graphics," he said of Blue Dragon. "Lost Odyssey is progressing about the same. The characters are starting to move in the game screen little by little, and we're figuring out where we want to go with its graphics."

Sakaguchi mentioned that a lot of information regarding the games is planned to be released by the end of the year, including Akira Toriyama's character designs for Blue Dragon. Mr. Sakaguchi also said that one of the new games will hit stores within a year after the Xbox 360's launch, while the second will be out within two years after the console hits the market.


Source: GameSpot



 PSP Sales Data Released, Glimpse of Future

PSP

Sony recently held a PlayStation Meeting in Tokyo at which they gave quite a glimpse at what the near future holds for the newest member of the PlayStation family. The meeting also released sales figures and upcoming titles planned for the PSP.

To date, Sony has shipped 5.07 million units of the PSP worldwide. 2.74 million units were sold in North America alone and the remaining 2.33 million units were sold in Asia. Sony expects the upcoming European release of the system in September to bring in an additional sales boost.

Regarding game sales, 11.2 million games have been shipped worldwide; 7.3 million in North America and 3.9 million in Asia. There are a total of 48 games in stores for the system, with the number expected to reach 150 by the end of March next year.

UMD movies have been selling very well in North America, with 3.3 million sales, not including the 1 million units of Spider-Man 2 that came bundled with the PSP. UMD sales on the opposite end of the Pacific have been much less-than-stellar. Only 400,000 UMD movies have been sold in the land of the rising sun; however, since PSP hardware sales have been doing so well that Sony plans to increase the shipment of UMD movies in Japan from 3 million per month to 5 million.

Sales data aside, Sony also released information regarding the future of the PSP. For one, the next firmware update, slated for July 27 in Japan, will add a web browser that corresponds to HTML 4.01, though it will lack support for Macromedia Flash. Some PSP owners may soon forgive Sony once they download a few movies via the PSP's web portal, though. That's right. The web browser will allow for downloadable content; possible costs of the downloads have not been addressed, however. This new firmware update will also come with support for the MP4(AVC) movie format, which allows for higher-quality videos. Unfortunately, a date for a U.S. version of the update wasn't disclosed.

As if all of this revealing wasn't enough, Sony began throwing out titles and trailers for upcoming PSP titles, with a few RPGs included in the list. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII were among the titles named. In fact, Sony even showed a short, yet "graphically-impressive" trailer of Crisis Core, though it didn't feature any in-game graphics. The trailer showed a flashback scene of the town of Nibelheim where Sephiroth learns the truth about his birth. Much of the trailer focused on Zack, the mercenary whose memories were implanted into Cloud, the hero of FFVII. There was also a scene with Cloud being stabbed by Sephiroth. At the end of the trailer was a blank screen that displayed the words: "A story of three young men and one young woman bound for destiny."

To top off the PlayStation meeting, Sony unveiled a new model of the PSP to be released only in Japan for now. The only difference it will have from the current PSP is its color -- "Ceramic White". Sony also mentioned plans to outfit the PSP in a whole line of different colors in the future. Once again though, the colored PSPs are only intened for a Japanese release.


Source: GameSpot



 Sony Wins Lawsuit

Sony

Some of you may recall a story from a few issues ago regarding Sony's lawsuit against a European retailer for illegally selling imported PSPs. Well, the lawsuit has begun and ended in Sony's favor. Online retail store, Nuplayer Ltd. has been court-ordered to cease the selling of imported PSP systems in Europe.

Nuplayer was also ordered to pay damages to Sony for them having to file the lawsuit, which can be a really expensive thing to do. Furthermore, the retailer must now give up its remaining stock, sales details, supplier information, and customer data. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe claimed that the sale of imported PSP units in Europe was undermining the company's marketing campaign for the system's official launch on September 1.


Source: GameSpot



 Stock Ticker

Wow, what a change from last week. Rather than have all but two companies see a stock increase, we have all but three seeing a decrease. Of the increases, the biggest one, of course, belongs to Electronic Arts with the latest installment of its best-selling college football franchise having recently hit the market. EA also saw the biggest increase from last week's issue with $3.40.

On the poorer end of the stock market are the remaining seven companies. Of those, Microsoft takes the biggest hit of the week with a loss of more than 3 quarters.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 07.22.2005


Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 34.63 (0.45)
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 25.68 (0.76)
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 13.60 (0.30)
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 60.86 0.62
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 29.22 (0.18)
KNM Konami NYSE 21.26 (0.41)
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 18.45 0.18
MWY Midway NYSE 12.78 0.23
SGAMY Sega PNK 15.95 (0.30)
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 53.07 (0.29)

Source: CNN Money




 Back Page

And that's that. It's good to be back, but it was tough getting into the swing of things again after 3 issues off. Although I must say, and I know none of you will believe me, even though getting back on track was hard, getting back to work helped me remember how much I love doing this job. I promised myself I wouldn't cry, so I'll go kick someone's ass before I do. Have a good week.


Elliot "Fly high and don't look down" Guisinger


Carlisle@RPGamer.com

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