Rumor: Next Nintendo Handheld to Use Nvidia Tegra Chip

Continuing today’s console chip rumor-fest (a technical term) it looks like Nintendo’s successor to the DS will be using an Nvidia Tegra chip. According to Develop:

Anonymous sources said to be close to the matter insist that the new Nintendo handheld — apparently set to be revealed late in 2010 — will be powered by Nvidia’s system-on-a-chip device, known as Tegra.

Tegra is an ARM-based processor with integrated Geforce graphics, and has been developed by Nvidia for use in smartphones and other mobile devices such as Microsoft’s Zune HD.

Tegra devices are starting to pop up in the personal music player (PMP) space and phones using the chip will be out shortly. While Nvidia is struggling in several other areas, it has a great chance at succeeding in the mobile market. Getting Tegra into a Nintendo handheld would be a tremendous win for Nvidia.

The move could also put Sony in a tough position. Tegra is a capable chip with a fairly low cost. Judging from Nintendo’s history, its next handheld system should have an accessible price. While I doubt (or at least hope) the PSPgo will not cost $249 next year, a new Nintendo portable will put the Go in a tough spot.

Incidentally, what features do you want to see in Nintendo’s next handheld system?

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Rumor: ATI GPU to Power Next Xbox

The word on the street is that the Microsoft’s next Xbox console will be powered by an ATI GPU from AMD. According to Fudzilla:

We’ve learned from industry sources that AMD / ATI has already won the GPU deal for the next generation Xbox console. It looks like Microsoft was happy with first Xeons GPU and it wants to continue using the same, especially since the new ATI GPU should keep the compatibility with legacy games.

The move isn’t exactly surprising. Rival GPU manufacturer Nvidia has been struggling lately and Microsoft seems keen on using backwards compatibility as one of its key differentiators. Vulcan logic would dictate Microsoft going with AMD/ATI once more.

What do you guys and dolls think of the rumor?

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Street Fighter IV’s Abel Was Supposed to be a Girlie Man

Street Fighter IV Abel

Street Fighter IV’s Abel is a brawny and burly character, but apparently that wasn’t the original vision for him. At first, Abel was supposed to be a scrawny French judo master that looked like a girl. Andriasang translated Capcom battle planner Taisaku Okada from the Street Fighter IV blog:

With Abel, we wanted to make someone representative of ‘the weak can beat the strong,’ and so he was originally a small judo character who could be mistaken for a girl.

I know a lot of SFIV players that dig Abel, but I have to wonder if they’d still be into the character if he were a puny girlie man.

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Coffee Talk #3: Gaming Guilty Pleasures

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, celebrating Rocktober, when you expect to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Yesterday, I was incredibly pleased to have R.A. Salvatore’s The Ghost King arrive at my doorstep. His books about Drizzt Do’Urden and friends are one of my guilty pleasures. Some of them are pretty good (The Dark Elf Trilogy and Jarlaxle’s books are my favorite), but a lot of them…aren’t the best. Still, I read all of them — sometimes over and over again — and thoroughly enjoy them.

Britney's Dance Beat

This got me thinking about my gaming guilty pleasures. I’m sure you know what I mean — games that you know aren’t great (or sometimes not even good), but can’t stop playing. The two biggest offenders in my collection are Britney’s Dance Beat for PlayStation 2 and Wakeboarding Unleashed for Xbox. For the former, I should really just be playing Bust-a-Groove, but I love how corny the game is with Britney’s music. As for Wakeboarding Unleashed, it’s certainly not in the same league as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but I may or may not have dated one of the girls in the game and it was always amazingly amusing to play as her.

Today I’d like to know about your gaming guilty pleasures. Are there any mediocre or bad games you can’t stop playing? Why can’t you shake them?

SwitchGames SoCal Game Trading Meetup!

Switch Games logoCalling all SoCal residents! The excellent people at SwitchGames are trying to organize an event where you can eat, drink, be merry, and trade games! Think of it as an evening swap meet for gamers. Here are some details:

DJ Sonic Pony spins the best indie rock, electronic, pop, classics and whatever else she feels like playing.

Food and drink will be available for purchase at the venue. All ages welcome. You must be 21+ to drink alcoholic beverages (ID required).

Plenty of parking (discount validation is available).

It sounds like a cool event. If my knee is cooperating, I’ll be there. It would be excellent to see you at the event! Even if you can’t attend this time around, be sure to sign up so that you can receive updates on future events.

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Nippon Ichi Software President Talks Life After Disgaea

Disgaea

Nippon Ichi Software (Disgaea) is one of my favorite developers. I love the deep and addictive gameplay in its RPGs. The company’s use of unique and quirky humor is outstanding. In a rare interview, NIS president and COO Souhei Niikawa gave Gamasutra an update on the company’s future plans:

Well, RPGs remain a popular genre for the hardcore audience, so I think that RPGs will still be a central part of our strategy.

Disgaea is certainly an important title for Nippon Ichi. We’ll continue to grow that game by doing what’s best for that particular series. Placing our fortunes on nothing but Disgaea wouldn’t be right at all. For example, we want to grow this new game in the same way that we’ve grown Disgaea. We want to make games that are different from Disgaea, of course, but sell just as well as that.

The market is getting harder and harder for small developers, so I worry about a company like NIS. I’m glad to see that it plans on expanding outside of Disgaea. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Hopefully it will still involve prinnies.

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Coffee Talk #2: Fantasy Games vs. SciFi Games

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the Toy Story 3 trailer, the upcoming “Super 6” middleweight tournament, or Rob Schneider’s birthday, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Fantasy vs. SciFi — it’s a debate that will last an eternity. Most gamers I know enjoy both settings, but strongly lean towards one or the other. Some folks dig games with swords and sorcery, others prefer laser rifles and warp drives. Personally, I’m way more of a fantasy guy than a sci-fi guy. Space battles are cool and all, but I rather jump into an adventure filled with mystical spells, magic weapons, and cool frickin’ dragons. I liked Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but I loved Baldur’s Gate.

Dragon Age Origins chicky

My reasoning is simple; fantasy settings are more ridiculous, ergo more imaginative. Science fiction — good science fiction anyway — is often based on…(get this) science. Sure, it might be theoretical, but in many cases it’s plausible and not a huge leap from reality. Even though a lot of sci-fi features alien races and futuristic weaponry, it’s just too “real” for me. At the end of the day I see science as cold and clinical (I’m sure a psychiatrist would tell me that I’m just afraid of death).

Fantasy is more fun for me. A sword of sharpness? Ludicrous. A bag of holding? Preposterous. A race of miniature creatures that live inside trees and bake cookies? Waitaminute…those actually exist. So many elements in fantasy games, books, etc. are just impossible. Call me a romantic, but I enjoy dreaming about the impossible.

I’d love to hear about your preference. Are you SciFi or fantasy? Pick a side and explain your choice (please)!

Squre Enix Taps Bon Jovi for Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers

Square Enix + Bon Jovi = Awesome! To help promote Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Square Enix has enlisted the help of the New Jersey rockers. According to Andriasang:

Square Enix announced today that it will be tapping none other than Bon Jovi for the new Wii Crystal Chronicles game.

Commercials for the game will make use of ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ off the band’s new The Circle album. The commercials will start appearing later this month.

Bon Jovi band

I love Bon Jovi and I love Square Enix games, so I’m thrilled by this partnership. I can’t wait to see the Japanese commercials online!

What do you make of the Square Enix/Bon Jovi pairing? Do you think Sega will try to get Cinderella to help them out? Maybe From Software will use Dokken. Also, isn’t this the same song MLB is using to promote the playoffs?

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Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford Equates Game Design With Magic

Borderlands

I have the utmost respect for game developers. They work so hard to craft the fantastic experiences that we all enjoy. The art of making games, to use some of Queen’s lyrics, “It’s a kind of magic.” According to Gearbox Software co-founder Randy Pitchford (Borderlands), game making and magic have a lot in common. The former professional magician (as opposed to the amateurs that cast spells in the Olympics) told Gamasutra:

A magician can create wonder by creating a set of logic, and then proving that the logic is impossible and false. Now if I repeat the same trick over and over again, as long as it’s still surprising, it’s fine. I’ve got you. But as soon as you start understanding how the trick works, you get bored and you lose interest. So, I’ve got to create a new trick. I’ve got to hit you with new magic.

I’ve always pegged Pitchford as some sort of sorcerer. I’m pretty sure he just admitted it in the quote above. I wonder what house he belonged to. Gryffindor? Hufflepuff maybe?

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