News from March 2007
With the X-Box 360 launching a full year before either of the other next-gen (this-gen?) consoles, Microsoft must have found it hard to stay in the limelight. Sure, the 360 had the highest holiday sales, but no one was lining up at four AM to find one, and, as a proven success, there was little speculation regarding 360 titles. But now, with a new name and new features, the X-Box 360 Elite just jumped back into the discussion.
As rumored for months, one of the major changes for new console will be hard drive size. The X-Box Elite will have a 120 GB drive in order to accommodate huge file sizes from the game and video X-Box Live download services. The color scheme will be switched over to black (or "premium" black, as Microsoft puts it), and the console will ship with a matching wireless controller and headset. The X-Box Elite will also have an HDMI output port and come bundled with an HDMI cable. Take that, Sony.
The new console will retail for $479 in the United States, a full $20 less expensive than the "cheap" PS3. The 120 GB harddrive plus a data transfer cable will also be released separately for $179.
Despite Sony's snotty reminder that the new X-Box still won't come with high-def DVD playback that no one has any use for anyway, this looks to me like Microsoft is giving gamers what they want. If Sony could knock the PS3's price into this range by making BluRay optional, I'd be right there. It seems ironic to me that Microsoft, the same company that insists on huge bundles for their PC products, is allowing consumers to decide for themselves whether or not they want a video game console or an entire entertainment center.
Posted in: Gaming Industry News
After months of delays, product detail changes, and other reasons for European gamers to grumble against Sony, the PS3 has finally launched in Sony's largest European market, the United Kingdom.
Though only a few hardcore fans took to sleeping on the pavement in order to secure a console, the line did improve as the midnight launch at an Oxford Virgin Megastore drew closer. And those truly rabid fans found themselves with a terrific pay-off for their determination to get a console at launch. No, silly, not the mere fact of having a console at launch. Mere minutes before midnight, a Sony rep announced that everyone already in line would receive not only a complimentary copy of the game Resistance: Fall of Man, but a 46" Bravia plasma HDTV.
Clearly, the PS3 launch went well for those who chose to show up for the midnight launch, and this is an unprecedented show of generosity on the part of a company that has been known to void a user's warranty if they admit to using 3rd-party AV cables. But as much as I wish I'd been in that line, what does this really say about Sony? Isn't giving away free plasma TVs for buying a video game system kind of like handing out cookies to secure votes for prom queen?
According to an interview with SCE France CEO Georges Fornay, the upcoming PS3 game Final Fantasy XIII may be available on more than one platform. This only qualifies as hearsay at the moment, but such words coming from the mouth of an important Sony executive are worth notice. The interview was published in the Francophone newspaper "Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace" ("The Final News from Alsace").
Sony's PS3 has had it rough recently, to say the least. Without going into too much detail, it can be surmised that the young system has been recently suffering from a great deal of criticism from game developers and publishers, from gaming news media, and from the gaming public themselves while the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft XBox 360 have been thriving in the new generation of video game consoles. Of particular note is the diminishing list of potential blockbusters for the PS3 - several extremely promising games that were originally billed as exclusive to Sony's new-gen hardware have announced releases for Microsoft's Xbox 360, among them Saints' Row, Assassin's Creed, and most recently Devil May Cry 4.
If this tidbit from France turns out to be true, then Sony will probably have yet another bevy of expectant gamers leave the PS3's bandwagon. Final Fantasy has been one of the most powerful franchises in video games since its birth, and its main-series games have been among the crown jewels in Sony's library from the past two generations. If FF XIII decides to shed its exclusivity status, then Sony is in even worse trouble than anyone may have suspected.
Posted in: Square-Enix News
It's still not official, but Sony's "we haven't announced, but we're not going to deny" denial hardly puts the poop on the party: Sony's PlayStation Portable may be undergoing a redesign to make it slimmer and lighter. Hey, it worked for Nintendo, so why not?
According to UK Sony rep Ray Maguire, any future "iterations" of the portable gaming device will be improved with an aim toward making it "smaller, lighter" while preserving the current screen size.
No mention of what effect, if any, this will have on the current model's price has been made.
Posted in: Gaming Industry News
It's been a while since the last update, hasn't it? Let's not point fingers. We'll try to be faster next time, honest.
We've got 35 new pieces of fanart for you this time, from five of our six games: Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics - some from our wizened veterans and some from first-time submitters.
If you head over to the gallery, you'll find some great fanart from:
- Ishigaki Mitsuo
So, thanks to everyone who contributed, both new and old! Oh, and to Kappa and Mimic, who, along with me, put this update together. Enjoy!
Posted in: CoN Site News