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CURRENTS
Issue #88
July 18, 2008
The E3 2008 Edition
Front Page

7/16 - 5:35 PM CST
Greetings, and welcome to Currents issue eighty-eight, which also happens to be our special E3 2008 edition! E3 is in full force right now, and while the RPGamer index has been keeping you up-to-date on all the RPG news that has come forth, I'm here now to round up everything else of interest and report it to you! I understand that this column was a bit late, but that was in order to glean every possible shred of news from the convention before posting.

Allow me to take a moment to discuss what is, without question, the most shocking bit of info to emerge from E3: Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360. Stunning, absolutely stunning. It's strange, because for months now, I've been 95% sure that this very thing was going to happen. And yet, when it was actually announced, I was still blown away. This, you see, is monumental: a multiplatform Final Fantasy title. If someone had even mentioned such a concept a few short years ago, he would have been labelled as deranged, and possibly tarred and feathered by some of the more rabid internet fanboys out there. But now, it is a reality -- FFXIII is coming to two consoles, and one of those consoles happens to be a system with a Japanese install base of practically zero.

I think the RPG community accepted the fact that Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the system of choice for RPGamers quite some time ago. But now, beyond ALL question, that position has been solidified. Final Fantasy, the be-all and end-all of JRPGs, is coming to the Xbox 360. At this point, how can the RPGamer refute the system? It is nearly impossible, unless you happen to be a Sony fanboy tool. Of course, if you are, you're probably too busy whipping up a half-assed internet petition to be reading my column, which is fine with me.

The fact of the matter is simple: Square Enix is a for-profit company, and they will seek to do that which will grant them the most -- you guessed it -- profit. They don't care about brand loyalty, they don't care about Sony's desperate need for system-selling exclusives, and they care even less about the Sony fanboys who are already shouting "TRAITOR!" at the top of their lungs.

What do I think? It's a bit hard to explain. It's a little jarring, but the only real concern - and this is hardly a concern - is that by developing a game for two systems, rather than focusing exclusively on one, the end product may suffer for it. Again, I don't think this is a real concern, but it has come to my mind. On the other hand, I am extremely happy for all my Xbox 360-owning friends who would have a tough time affording a PlayStation 3. Now they can enjoy FFXIII along with the rest of us, and we can all be contented. In other words, everybody wins. Except for the fanboys, but have we ever cared about them?

This year's E3 has actually been quite interesting. Lots of industry news not related to RPGs has sprung forth, and that's exactly what Currents is here to cover. So brace yourself my friends, as we proceed to the NEWS!

Touches on 360 Port, Battle System
EXPLOSION
Title

In a recent interview, Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase had plenty to say about the game and its 360 port. He made very clear that Square Enix's goal this time around is to shorten the amount of time it would generally take for the game to be localized for regions such as North America and Europe. This being the case, he said that there were currently no plans to add new material to any version of the game.

When asked how they would deal with the difference in disc space between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, Kitase said that they would make sure that the final product on the Xbox 360 wouldn't suffer in any way, and that they would be working to ensure that the in-game visuals were identical on both versions. Since Square Enix has made clear in the past that Crystal Tools, the engine that FFXIII is running on, can be used interchangeably with the PS3 and Xbox 360, I can't imagine that the port will be too difficult to pull off. It just might take up a lot of discs.

When asked about the battle system, and how much of a departure it would be from previous entries in the series, Kitase was careful not to give anything away. However, he did confirm the fact that FFXIII used the ATB system, but an "enhanced version" of it. He went on to say that in developing the system, the team had "taken the best of both FFX and FFXII and created something entirely new and evolved it." Also, he confirmed that monsters will appear onscreen in FFXIII, but it will be handled differently than it was in XII. And... those statements are all painfully vague, just in case you hadn't noticed. I suppose we'll all just have to wait for a demo to be released.

Kitase was asked what effect he thought Hironobu Sakaguchi's departure had upon the series. In response, Kitase took the opportunity to explain that every Final Fantasy game is connected in the sense that each new team plays and studies the games that came before it. For example, while none of the team working on XIII were part of XII, they have all (including Kitase himself) played and studied the game. "There's nothing specific that I felt I had to protect to maintain the Final Fantasy image or theme," he said. Speaking about Sakaguchi, Kitase said that in a conversation they had long ago, he asked Sakaguchi "what made a Final Fantasy game a Final Fantasy game. Jokingly, Sakaguchi had replied "As long as the text boxes have the blue background and the white outline around the box, it's a Final Fantasy game." Heh...

In another interview, Kitase was joined by producer Shinji Hashimoto. Several more hints and nebulous details were given. For example, Kitase said that FFXIII's story had been completed, and they were now searching for the appropriate voice actors so recording could begin. "Once that's complete," he said, "we can really get into the localization process."

Kitase talked about the notorious Crystal Tools engine, and the bumps the team had experienced in developing it. "FFXIII currently functions in all the basic ways," he said, "but we're still working to polish the engine. People may be under the impression that it's a total package that only needs to be tweaked a little bit in order to port the game to 360, but that's not the case -- we still have to fix it to make it more platform-specific. And yet they plan to release the PS3 and 360 versions simultaneously outside of Japan... hmmm...

When asked about the cell phone title Final Fantasy Agito XIII, and the possibility of a North American localization, Hashimoto actually seemed somewhat positive on the idea. "No plans have been confirmed," he said, "but we're constantly researching the potential for bringing it to the U.S. Still, Japanese mobile tech is very powerful compared to other markets."

Kitase went on to say that they were considering a vocal theme for the game, and that he was interested in offering DLC for the game at a later date. All considered, we managed to glean a lot more FFXIII info from E3 2008 than I had dared hope... now, if they'd just give us a release date. Or window. Or year.

Source: 1UP
Development of 360 Version Won't Begin until Japanese PS3 Release Finished
Confusion...
Title

Square Enix has made one thing clear: they intend to complete the Japanese PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIII before development on the 360 version is even begun. During a press conference in which Square Enix fielded questions concerning the 360 port, Shinji Hashimoto, one of FFXIII's producers, said "We're ready to start developing FFXIII for 360. First, we will complete the game for PS3 in Japan, then begin localization for America and Europe while developing the 360 version simultaneously. The PS3 and 360 versions will be released at the same time outside of Japan -- although, due to language and other conditions, the game may not be released simultaneously across territories."

I was initially confused as to whether or not the PS3 version would see a North American release before the 360 version, but the above statement seems to make it clear that Square Enix plans to release the 360 and PS3 versions simultaneously outside of Japan. That could, of course, change. And I can't help but think that it would take less time to localize the PS3 version for North America than it would to port the game to the 360. Especially since Square Enix reps such as Yoshinori Kitase have made it clear (see the above article) that they plan to focus on shortening the typical 6-9 month gap between the Japanese and North American release. Personally, I hope that if Square Enix can localize the PS3 version faster than the 360 port is completed, they go ahead and release the PS3 version in the states rather than sitting on it and waiting for the sake of a simultaneous release. If nothing else, it would be throwing PS3 owners (such as myself) a bone. Especially if those PS3 owners purchased the system primarily FOR FFXIII. Also, it would mean I could play FFXIII sooner. And... I want to play FFXIII as soon as I can.

Sources: 1UP
Kim Happy, Tretton Indifferent
Two different extremes
Title

In the wake of this earth-shattering news, one of the first things I wondered is how Sony would react. So far, the closest thing to a reaction we've got is SCEA's head, Jack Tretton, effectively writing the whole thing off.

"Am I disappointed by it? Yes. Am I surprised? No." He called the loss of such a prestigious exclusive "unavoidable" given the current state of the industry, and went on to say that "it's going to be harder and harder to hold on to franchises." He then reminded us of the fact that FFXIII is still PS3 exclusive in Japan.

Microsoft's corporate vice president of strategy and business development, Shane Kim, had a different spin on the tale. (Surprise!) According to Kim, "we've been working on our relationship with Square Enix for a long, long time. And I'm not going to go into the details of this particular relationship, but to be able to bring Final Fantasy XIII and their other strong RPG titles to Xbox 360 and Windows is a huge boon for us, and is another example of traditional PlayStation franchises moving to Xbox 360 and having great experiences on our platform."

While Tretton downplayed the significance of system exclusives, Kim maintained that they were crucial to the success of a system. From the interview:

They're all important. This might be a slightly long answer, but I think it's a great question. First of all, I do believe that exclusive contents are super important to the success of a platform, that's why we've invested so heavily in Microsoft Game Studios. We're talking about Halo, Fable, Gears of War, Forza Motorsport, and so on. That's very important, because those franchises aren't available on anyone else's platform. It's a big driver of our console's success. Taking franchises that were formerly exclusive to PlayStation 3, and bringing them to Xbox 360 is just as valuable. Titles that have traditionally been big drivers of their success from third-parties, like Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy, the list goes on and on now, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil. These are franchises that have never existed on Xbox 360, and in a way it's like adding exclusive content, because our customers have never had a chance to enjoy these before.

Any additional FFXIII drama will be reported here.

Source: 1UP
20GB SKU to be $299 While Supplies Last
DO NOT HESITATE!
Title

Rumors of an Xbox 360 price cut have been floating around the internet for weeks now. In fact, it had all but been confirmed, and everyone was just waiting for an official statement from Microsoft.

Well, we finally got one. The 20GB Xbox 360 Pro model will see a $50 price drop from $349 to $299, and will be available while supplies last. Keyword "while supplies last," as Microsoft has announced that a new, 60GB Xbox 360 SKU will be taking its place, and will retail for $349. The new SKU and temporary discount is currently only available in the US.

In the official press release, Microsoft's Albert Penello touted the fact that they were offering three times the storage at the same price. "We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers," he said, "and we're giving it to them at no extra charge." Man, aren't they the greatest? Maybe Nintendo should follow suit...

The 60GB Xbox 360 will not have any new features other than an expanded hard drive. No Blu-ray drive, no integrated wi-fi. And no internal HD-DVD drive, BWAHAHAHAHA. (Sorry.)

Source: GameSpot
Mii-Like Avatars to be Included
omg they are copying teh nintendo
Title

With the recent re-design of the PlayStation Store, and additions such as the X-media crossbar, Sony has been making some marked improvements to their online service and interface lately. However, most would agree that it still pales in comparison to what Microsoft has to offer. Now, with the unveiling of a brand-new dashboard for the 360, it's even harder to argue this point.

John Shappert, head of Xbox Live Services, claimed that these changes will "completely reinvent" the Xbox experience. And, upon viewing what it has to offer, he may be right.

Looks familiar, no?

The top-level menu should look familiar to some, as it's somewhat reminiscent of Microsoft's Windows Media Center. It consists of six main options: Spotlight, Videos, Games, Primetime, Community, and My Xbox. Interestingly, pressing the Guide button on the Xbox 360 controller will bring up a miniaturized version of the old five-bladed menu system, which should comfort those who fear change. This mini-menu will be available even while playing a game.

Spotlight is, for all intents and purposes, exactly what it sounds like: whatever Microsoft feels like putting in the spotlight. It's a quick way to access the newest stuff and the hottest games available on Xbox Live, and it will be updated frequently.

Videos is also fairly self-explanatory, but Microsoft has taken things to a new level through partnership with several different providers, bringing tonnes of new video content to the 360. Microsoft announced at E3 2008 that Xbox Live Gold members will now be able to stream and watch Netflix movies via the 360. Users will be able to watch whatever is currently sitting in their Netflix Instant Queue, and it will stream at near-DVD quality. Users will have to visit Netflix's website in order to add or remove films from their queue, but any changes they make will be reflected on Xbox Live within seconds.

Games, of course, refers to all that is playable on Xbox Live. You'll find demos, full games available for download, and previews.

Primetime is an intriguing new feature that Microsoft is adding to the Xbox Live slate. In this channel, users will be able to participate in game shows such as "1 vs. 100," in which you test your knowledge against 100 opponents. Apparently, some of these games will even feature live hosts, as well as prizes for the winners. Xbox Live users can either merely sit and spectate, or compete in the games.

In the Community channel, Microsoft will be introducing a brand new way to stay in touch with one's friends. One of the more notable features about the Community channel is that it utilizes digital avatars that look an awful lot like Nintendo's Miis. But that's not all - LiveParty will allow up to eight users to come together in voice/text chat session. The users will all be represented by their respective avatars, and can stay in contact even if they are not all doing the same activity. (i.e, they don't all have to be playing the same game.)

Look! It's Mii!

Finally, the MyXbox channel gives you access to the personal side of things. In here, you'll be able to change your themes and wallpapers, edit your profile, take a look at your Achievement Points, and create your personal avatar. According to Microsoft, the avatars are free, but they may be offering DLC such as clothing for them in the future. (This, of course, will cost money). Also, these avatars will see use in upcoming games for the 360, which should come as little surprise to anyone.

MY Xbox!

Possibly the most interesting new feature that will arrive with the new dashboard actually has little to do with the new look. Microsoft has announced that soon, gamers will be able to perform full game installs on the 360 hard drive, similar to what is required of most PS3 titles. Supposedly, internal tests at Microsoft have shown that this can reduce load times by up to 30%, and also cuts down significantly on system noise, since the optical disc is not required to spin constantly. Microsoft took the time to state that a Devil May Cry 4 install took approximately 10 minutes on the Xbox 360 - about half of the time it takes to install on the PlayStation 3.

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out, and personally, I'm pretty excited for some of these updates. Unfortunately, Microsoft has declined to give us a firm release date for these upgrades. For right now, it's simply "this fall."

Sources: GameSpot
80GB "Core" Model to Replace 40GB
So, uh... we can kiss BC goodbye?
Title

Another E3, another PS3 SKU. This time, though, it's really nothing to get excited over. Sony will be releasing an 80GB PS3 model to replace the current 40GB model, and it's due out later this year. Like the 40GB model, it will not feature backwards compatibility of any kind. But, like the 40GB model, it will retail for $399. So, if you don't care about backwards compatibility, and if you've been on the rails over a PS3 purchase due to inadequate storage, SONY HAS HEARD YOUR CRIES!

This is disturbing news. The old 80GB model, (which I own) has all but vanished, with the exception of the MGS4 bundle. I've heard rumors that it's coming back, but that hasn't happened. And now, with the release of this SKU, its return seems even more unlikely. Does this mean that Sony has finally ditched backwards compatibility entirely? If so, then my disappointment cannot be adequately expressed. Failure, Sony... epic failure.

You see, I think their strategy is to keep the PS2 alive and well, as it's currently their only real source of profit in the console race. Eliminating PS1/PS2 playback from the PS3 would mean that tardy gamers looking to catch up on past classics would be forced to purchase a PS2, which at this point, (I presume) is like handing Sony $100 in cash. This theory is further evidenced by the fact that Sony has announced a brand-new PS2 bundle that will be coming this fall. It will come packed with Lego Batman, along with the animated DVD movie Justice League: The New Frontier.

Finally, Sony announced that they will be releasing a new PSP bundle, due out at roughly the same time. It will come with a silver PSP, a 1GB memory stick, a copy of Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, and the UMD movie National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. It will retail for $199.

Well, it's all good news besides the PS3 announcement. Sony has not explicitly stated that they are abandoning BC, but do you think they'd actually go out of their way to announce that? They know the news will piss off a massive number of people. Which makes you wonder: why are they doing this? Just... why?

Source: 1UP
Dozens of Movies and TV Shows Available, Transferrable to PSP
Movie night just became a little easier
Title

You have to admit, Sony is putting a lot of effort into developing and improving the PS3's online services. With the announcement of their new video download service, the PS3 has taken yet another step toward closing the gap between PSN and Microsoft's far more populated Xbox Live.

Sony's video download service is already available, and allows for the purchase and rental of dozens of different movies and TV shows. Much of it is available in HD resolutions as well, and all videos can be transferred to the PSP for portable viewing. Thus far, Sony has partnered to bring content from Sony Pictures (duh), Fox, MGM, Lionsgate, Warner, Disney, Paramount, Turner, and Funimation. (Yes, there is a fairly good selection of anime. But no Fullmetal Alchemist, for some screwed up reason.) TV episodes start at $1.99 each, while movies will cost $2.99-$5.99 to rent and $9.99-$14.99 to buy. (HD content costs more than SD content, unsurprisingly.) A "progressive viewing" option will allow users to watch their video while it is being downloaded.

As I stated before, the service is already available, and has been for a couple of days. I've browsed it pretty thoroughly, and I have to admit, I was pleased. I was pleased that the video store is entirely separate from the PlayStation store -- when you access PSN, you select "video" at the top left to be taken to the video store. I was impressed with the number of titles Sony already had available. There's really quite a lot to choose from, including some decent animes, which is something many RPGamers will be happy about. I was somewhat disappointed with a few key titles that weren't available in HD, however -- Spider-Man 3, for example, was only available in standard definition. Also, I'm unsure if HD refers to 720P or full 1080P, because it doesn't specify in the menu. Perhaps it does once you've paid and begun downloading, I don't know. Of course, I'm GUESSING 720, since a full-length 1080P film would be a MASSIVE download.

In any case, I'm quite pleased with Sony's new video download service, and I think PS3 owners will find it beneficial. I'm looking forward to Sony expanding the already-substantial library in the future.

Source: 1UP
New Add-On to Increase Wii-Mote's Effectiveness
We have a new Wii-Mote peripheral... the Wii-Mote!

Nintendo has unveiled what can best be called an upgrade to their wildly popular Wii-Mote controllers. It's called Wii MotionPlus, and it's a little gadget you plug into the bottom of your Wii-Mote. Doing so enhances the Wii's ability to sense motion in three dimensions. In other words, it makes your Wii-Mote waggles more precise and easier to control. Take a look at the image below.

Yay, SOMETHING to buy for my Wii

Aaaand here's Nintendo's statement about the new peripheral:

"The Wii MotionPlus accessory attaches to the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation, providing players with an unmatched level of precision and immersion. Every slight movement players make with their wrist or arm is rendered identically in real time on the screen, providing a true 1:1 response in their game play. The Wii MotionPlus accessory reconfirms Nintendo's commitment to making games intuitive and accessible for everyone."

"Accessible for everyone," huh? Well, here's the thing: at Nintendo's E3 Press Conference, (which I found to be horribly dull and uneventful, btw) they unveiled Wii Sports Resort, a sequel to the wildly popular Wii Sports. It actually looks pretty fun, I must admit, but here's the kicker: it will not work without the MotionPlus accessory. So, as of now, the MotionPlus accessory is not just a useful gadget that hardcore Wii gamers might look into. It is, in fact, a necessity. (Because mark my words, it won't stop with Wii Sports Resort.) Now, given how much a stinking Wii-Mote costs, it's a fair bet that this thing will be pricey. $20? $30? Those are pretty conservative estimates, in my eyes. (And no, Nintendo has not yet given an official price.) So, the fact of the matter is, every Wii gamer will sooner or later be forced to purchase one of these bloody things for each of their Wii-Motes. This does not go towards making games "accessible" in any way. It's somewhat alleviated by the fact that Wii Sports Resort will come packed with a MotionPlus accessory, but unless you're one of the 12 people in the world who play their Wii alone, you'll be springing some cash for some extra ones. Oh, and here are a few more things to consider: if the MotionPlus doesn't contain batteries, it will draw power from the remote and shorten its battery life. If it DOES contain batteries, it will force you to BUY MORE. And the oh-so handy Nyko charge station will NOT work with the MotionPlus attached, as Nyko themselves have already confirmed. So... yeah. Crappiness all around.

The question I'm about to ask is barely worth voicing, but... why wasn't this functionality available from the beginning? It's not like it didn't exist. Failure, Nintendo. Not epic failure, (see Sony above) but failure nonetheless. I will rest my case with this highly interesting Gizmodo article I stumbled across.

Source: 1UP
Nintendo DS Tops Hardware Chart, Metal Gear Solid 4 Claims Top Software Spot
Let's crunch some numbers
Title

Alright! We get both E3 news and NPD numbers in the same week! It's like... a big, nerdy paradise!

Metal Gear Solid 4 actually did have quite an impact on PS3 sales in June, with month-on-month sales for the system almost doubling. Of course, Nintendo continued to trounce all competition, with both the Wii and DS selling astounding numbers of units. Hardware sales are given below:

JUNE 2008 HARDWARE:
* Nintendo DS -- 783,000
* Wii -- 666,700
* PlayStation 3 -- 405,500
* PSP -- 337,4000
* Xbox 360 -- 219,800
* PlayStation 2 -- 188,800

MAY 2008 HARDWARE:
* Nintendo Wii -- 675,100
* Nintendo DS -- 452,600
* PlayStation 3 -- 208,700
* Xbox 360 -- 186,600
* PlayStation Portable -- 182,300
* PlayStation 2 -- 132,700

Nintendo's DS saw quite an astounding jump in sales, as you can see. This is likely due to the recent release of Guitar Hero: World Tour, the first iteration of the popular series on the DS. The PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 yet again, selling almost twice as many this time around. The PSP also saw quite a leap in sales, which is strange, because it doesn't seem to be connected to any recent software release. On the software side of things, the number one seller should come as no surprise:

JUNE 2008 SOFTWARE
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) -- 774,600 (not including bundles)
2. Guitar Hero On Tour (DS) -- 422,300
3. Ninja Gaiden II (Xbox 360) -- 372,700
4. Wii Fit (Wii) -- 372,700
5. Wii Play (Wii) - 359,100
6. Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360) -- 346,800
7. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) -- 322,400
8. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventure (Wii) -- 294,500
9. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventure (DS) -- 267,800
10. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventure (PS2) -- 260,300

MAY 2008 SOFTWARE
1. Grand Theft Auto IV (360) -- 871,300
2. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) -- 787,400
3. Wii Fit (Wii) -- 687,700
4. Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3) -- 442,900
5. Wii Play (Wii) -- 294,600
6. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) -- 171,100
7. Iron Man (PS2) -- 130,600
8. Guitar Hero III (Wii) -- 116,800
9. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness (DS) -- 107,000
10. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time (DS) -- 102,000

According to the NPD group, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots actually sold close to 1 million units when considering the number of PS3 bundles sold. Ninja Gaiden II saw a fairly respectable opening month, tying with Wii Fit at 372,000 units. Wii Play continues to overstay its welcome in the top 10, while Grand Theft Auto IV, after selling over a million units last month, is completely gone this month. And, how can I not mention the fact that Lego Indiana Jones occupies not one, not two, but three spots on the top 10. Apparently, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made everyone fall in love with Indy again.

Source: 1UP
Surpasses Xbox 360 With 10.9 Million Sold
SURPRISE
Title

Before the above NPD numbers were even released, Nintendo sent word out that the Wii had officially surpassed the Xbox 360 as the number one console in America, with 10.9 million units sold. They announced this via a text message, in which they said "after just 20 [months], Wii is the new console leader in the U.S. [at] nearly 10.9 million units, says NPD [to]day." Apparently this is the second time they've announced something via text, the first time being just a few days ago when they announced Wii MotionPlus. I find that amusing.

This, of course, comes as a surprise to no one. The Xbox 360 had a one-year head start, but the Wii has been consistently outselling it since its release in 2006. The last time the 360 outsold the Wii was back in September of '07, when Halo 3 was released. Microsoft may or may not bounce back, and Nintendo may or may not slack off. For now, and for the foreseeable future, Nintendo is on top.

Source: 1UP | Kotaku
20 Million 360's Sold
Finally, their efforts are rewarded
Title

While Nintendo's Wii may have overtaken them as the console leader in North America, not all is doom and gloom for Microsoft and its Xbox 360. For the first time, its game division is reporting a year in the black. Sure, it has had a few profitable quarters here and there, but this is the first time in the group's history that it's had a profitable year. Granted, this refers to the company's Entertainment and Devices division, which also includes stuff like Games for Windows and the Zune, but still... it's quite a feat.

This may be news to some of you, so let me spell it out: Microsoft never made money on its original Xbox console. You can bet the company is happy that the Xbox 360 is finally making them some cash. Also, Microsoft reported that it has now sold 20 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide. This makes for quite a good response to the news that the console has fallen from the top spot in the U.S., wouldn't you say?

Source: Kotaku

BOOOOOO

Source: Kotaku
QUICKIES: In Which I Make Passing Mention of Some Relatively Small, But Inherently Awesome News Stories!
Almost done...
  • Sony Announces PS3 Greatest Hits Line
    At E3 2008, Sony announced that they will be releasing a greatest hits line for their PS3, much like their Greatest Hits line for PS2. Greatest Hits titles will retail for $29.99. The first wave of titles will include Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, Warhawk, Call of Duty 3, Fight Night Round 3, Need for Speed: Carbon, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Assassin's Creed, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Not a bad selection, and $29.99 isn't a bad price. It's not as good as $19.99, but it works. Maybe I'll pick up a few just to feed my starving PS3 collection. Kinda makes me mad, though, because I totally just paid over $40 for a used copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

  • Miyamoto: New Zelda for Wii in Development
    Okay, so Nintendo didn't announce a new Zelda title at E3. (In fact, they didn't announce much of anything at E3.) But, according to Miyamoto, there IS a title in development. Speaking with IGN, the Zelda creator said "The Zelda team in particular always works on Zelda titles. The core members of the Zelda team have for a very long time now been focused on Zelda games, and continue to focus on Zelda games, so they are hard at work and working away." Going on, Miyamoto said "And then, of course, we have the DS Zelda team as well, so even there we're having some switching of people in and out where the DS team is mixing in with the Wii team and working on the Wii version." Okay! So they're working on it, then. Good. They need to work harder. I need more Zelda.

  • Take a Look at This Awesome Duke Nukem Trailer
    It's a wonder that 3D Realms didn't have their offices burnt to the ground after showing this. No, I'm serious. Take a look at it here.
Sources: IGN | 1UP | GameTrailers

7/18 - 1:37 PM CST
Wow... that was long. E3 produced a veritable slew of news, and then NPD numbers came out, and then... yeah. Lots of stuff.

I think we had a better show this year than we did last year. It wasn't quite as big or bombastic as some previous years were, but it seemed to be a lot more eventful than 2007, which just plain sucked. Biggest news? FFXIII for Xbox 360, by far. Best trailer? You've gotta check out the new trailer for Ubisoft's upcoming Prince of Persia game. Absolutely beautiful. Besides The Last Remnant, Ubisoft's revitalization of PoP is my most anticipated game for this holiday season.

I apologize for how late this went up, but I had a LOT of writing to do, as you can see. Q&A will still go up at its regularly scheduled time, so look for me there! On that note, I'm sure you're all just chomping at the bit to discuss some E3 news with me, so hurry up and send a letter! If you're fast enough, you might see print in this week's Q&A...

Oliver Motok
Send me a letter!

 

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