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News from January 2007

PS3 European/Australasian launch dates confirmed


Playstation 3
Sony have announced that Playstation 3 will release in Europe this March the 23rd, with one million consoles available at launch, roughly a quarter of those said to be for the UK alone. The same date applies to those of us in Australia and New Zealand. And according to at least one source, the million consoles are spread amongst Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia.

European gamers with possibly more money than sense and presumably a large amount of patience to go with that can expect to pay either 425 GBP or 599 Euros for the 60GB version of Sony's latest console, with the smaller 20GB variant only becoming available later on. Irish gamers will however pay a steep price of €630 for the 60GB console due to the 21% VAT in the Republic of Ireland. Australasians shall pay around A$1000 or NZ $1200.

Sony have stated 30 titles will be available at launch. Sadly, they're all the same ones out for the US and Japanese launch mostly plus ports from last-gen consoles and the occasional Generic Sports Game 2007 title thrown in for good measure.

Europe seemed to have been struck hardest by the various delays of PS3's launch, from the Spring 2006 issues with the blu-ray copyright, followed by the manufacturing issues with the blu-ray devices themselves led to Europe's launch being delayed, Sony claiming that the 27 nations of the European Union plus those who have had the brains to stay out of aforementioned corrupt political union presented a logitically more complex launch area than the US or Japan, and to avert failure in all three markets chose to delay the PAL launch. Though having shipped 2 million consoles to Japan and the US, failure is hardly what has occurred. The only troubles are those ones sitting unsold and the fact Wii gained a 700,000 sale head start last December alone. On the bright side, at least it wasn't 60 consoles (425 GB variants) available priced at £1,000,000...

Sources: The BBC, Wikipedia and the Herald Sun..

WoW: Burning Crusade fastest-selling game ever


Windows
From CVG

The recently-released expansion to World of Warcraft, "The Burning Crusade," has earned the title of the fastest-selling video game of all time. In just the first day of sales, almost 2.4 million copies of the game were snatched off of the shelves, not even given a chance to cool down off the retailers' hands.

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The title was released in both North America and Europe, which may have helped the sales but in no way lessens the incredible victory Blizzard has gotten from this. Approaching 2.4 million copies in 24 hours means they were selling, on average, nearly 100,000 copies an hour in the two continents, which is an unbelievable pace. World of Warcraft already had the reputation of being addicting the point of stealing friends and family away, and I can only imagine how many people who may have grown stagnant in the realm of Azeroth will re-enter the world now that they have lots of new content to enjoy.
Posted in: RPG News

New Class, Character Revealed for FF Tactics PSP


Final Fantasy Tactics
This will be my shortest newspost ever, but I didn't want any punk wannabe newsposters beating me to the info this time.

Square-Enix recently revealed that Balthier (also known as Balflear), the loveable air pirate from Final Fantasy XII, will have a storyline role in the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics. It is unconfirmed if he will be playable or not, but he will have a storyline role.

In the same announcement, Square-Enix revealed one of the new job classes for the remake: Dark Knight. Let the moveset speculation run wild.

Source: RPGFan

Wii Launch Beats 'Em All


Wii
After endless months of hubbub surrounding the various next-gen (this-gen?) console launches, complete with fanboys of all flavors proclaiming their console the winner and predicting at least one complete loser, the numbers are finally in. Which console really did the best in its launch period--and which did the worst?

With similar year-end launch windows for each of the three consoles, it seems fair to compare their sales from launch until year-end. In 2005, the X-Box 360 sold 607,000 consoles. By the end of 2006, Sony had sold 687,300 PlayStation 3s for a narrow launch-window victory. But, wait! In the slightly smaller 2006 window Nintendo gave the Wii launch, it sold 1.1 million consoles, vastly outstripping either of its competitors.

Of course, no one likes to be declared the loser in any kind of race, and Sony and Microsoft have been swift to point out a few caveats before taking these numbers at face value. While the Wii was in short supply throughout the holiday season, Nintendo managed to overcome the supply hurdles that kept Microsoft and Sony in the dust. With an infinite supply of each of the three consoles, it's hard to say which brand would have come out the winner. Also, Microsoft's 360 was the top console seller of this holiday season, claiming a 51% market share in North America.

So what do these numbers really mean? I'm inclined to agree with the analysts. It's too close to call. There aren't any clear losers as of yet, and I think it's going to take at least another year to see if Sony ever solves its production problems or if the Wii fans knocked unconscious by wayward Wiimmotes ever recover from their comatose states. So, shut up, fanboys. Or at least start basing your predictions on the market a year from now.

Source: GameSpot

New Fabula Nova Crystalis Details


General Final Fantasy
A recent developer blog post by Square-Enix's Tetsuya Nomura revealed a great deal of new information regarding the Fabula Nova Crystalis project, which comprises the PS3 games Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII, as well as the cell phone game Final Fantasy Agito XIII.

The world of Final Fantasy XIII is called "Cocoon," and it uses crystal technology to create a highly advanced society. It is also completely surrounded by a large shell, which protects Cocoon and its inhabitants from all manner of evil residing outside of the shell, whose space is collectively called "Pulse." Cocoon's government reacts to the threat of the Pulse lurking monsters with "drastic measures," and uses the threat of exiling Cocoon citizens to Pulse as a means of controlling the people. Lightning, FF XIII's protagonist, is "chosen by the Crystal" to stop "those who would destroy the world," but Nomura (who is working on FF XIII as a character designer) was vague on any details otherwise.

Summons are going to be handled very differently in Final Fantasy XIII than in past FF games. They still serve as allies of our protagonist, but have some very unusual abilities; for example, the summon Shiva can now be transformed into a motorcycle, which Lightning can ride during battle. Somehow, this action-oriented feature is going to be implemented in a classic ATB system, but Nomura also stated that the game's developers are having "difficulties" implementing these new features.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII, an entirely separate game on its own, is supposedly set in a single kingdom within the same universe as Final Fantasy XIII and features a conflict centered over the last remaining crystal of said kingdom. The still-unnamed main character is a silver-haired swordsman who can teleport to any location where his sword is thrown. FF Versus XIII is being directed by Nomura himself and will use an action-oriented game engine based on the Kingdom Hearts series. Neither FF XIII nor FF Versus XIII has received a release date yet.

Final Fantasy Agito XIII is going to be a fully-3D cell phone game that centers on protecting another one of these crystals. That's essentially all that is known about Agito thus far, that and the fact that it doesn't have a release date either.

Source: RPGFan

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