Shigeru Miyamoto Talks Xbox 360 Achievements

Shigeru Miyamoto

At a recent roundtable discussion, legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto discussed a wide variety of topics. One interesting tidbit was his view on Xbox 360 game achievements. Miyamoto said:

I’m not particularly well versed in the Xbox 360 achievement system. I spend most of my time working on my own games, and don’t have a lot of time to look at what other people are doing.

The idea of playing the game in a particular way and having it unlock a special prize that rewards you… it feels like something we’ve been doing for the last 15-20 years.

Miyamoto has a point, but he’s also missing one. It’s true that many of his Nintendo games were designed to reward gamers for playing in a particular way, but people like points, trophies, etc. It reminds me of when my friends at 1Up started the site; I had no idea what my “score” was for, but I wanted more points, which made me keep visiting.

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Hideo Kojima Promises Zoe of the Enders Sequel, Explains ZoE2 Flop

Zone of the Enders 1

Hideo Kojima has promised a Zone of the Enders sequel, but due to everyone at Kojima Productions being busy on various Metal Gear Solid titles, it might be a while until the next Anubis: Zoe of the Enders (the game’s Japanese name) is created. Andriasang translated Kojima’s blog entry on the matter:

We’d like to make an Anubis sequel at some point. Also, we feel that if we do it, we’d like to make Anubis succeed this time. I already have a game plan and method for sales in my head. However, we don’t know if it will be green lighted. The production lines within Kojima Productions are currently full.

I cannot make a promise about time. However, I can promise a sequel.

Kojima also explained why Zoe of the Enders 2 wasn’t the success it should have been. He chalks it all up to timing and blames himself.

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Mass Effect 2 Confirmed for January 26, Pre-order Bonuses Revealed

Mass Effect 2

EA just sent out a press release confirming the release date for BioWare’s highly anticipated Mass Effect 2. The game will be released on January 26, 2010. Customers that pre-order ME2 might be able to snag some excellent in-game accessories. Here’s the official word from EA:

In North America, pre-order bonuses include special-ops armor and weaponry that are designed to boost Commander Shepard’s skills and abilities. At GameStop, Terminus Gear is available with pre-orders, which includes the powerful Terminus Assault Armor and the M-490 Blackstorm Heavy Weapon:

  • The Terminus Armor is designed for use in extreme planetary conditions, increasing run speed and personal shields, and augmenting weapons with an additional magazine of reserve ammo.
  • The M-90 Blackstorm Heavy Weapon generates a high-powered localized gravity well, accelerating particles to near-infinite mass, and ultimately expanding the selection of heavy weapons available to players when they gear up for combat missions in Mass Effect 2.

Players that pre-order Mass Effect 2 at other retail outlets in North America will receive the potent Inferno Armor, which is used by officers to monitor battlefield conditions by recognizing elevated heart rates, and regulates sub-systems with extreme efficiency to allow for greater response times — together these abilities translate in-game into a negotiation bonus for Commander Shepard and an increase in run speed and augmented damage from combat powers.

BioWare doesn’t need to lure me with any pre-order items — I’ll always buy the company’s games. That said, I’m not going to turn away some nifty weapons. How about you? Are you going to pre-order ME2?

Hit the break for the awesome Terminator armor image included with today’s press release!

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What Are You Playing This Weekend?!?

Ah, the weekend is here! I’m thankful that I made it through the week. There were some bumpy spots for sure, but in terms of…all I can say is, “Wow!” You guys have been amazing! As you probably guessed from the title of this post, I want to see what games you have slotted for weekend playtime.

Kingdom Hearts 358

I’m way, way behind on stuff I have to play to keep current. While a lot of you will be enjoying Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2, I’m going to be giving Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days a whirl. A bunch of my friends told me that 358/2 Days is to Kingdom Hearts as Crisis Core is to FFVII. Considering how much I loved Crisis Core, I had to give this game a shot. I hope it lives up to my expectations!

Like I said, I want to know what’s on your weekend playlist (*snicker* get it?!?). What games are on your plate?

Coffee Talk #5: What’s Up With All the Wii Hate?

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, balloon boy, the new info on that FFXIII chick, or advanced sock-organization techniques, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

For many enthusiast gamers, Nintendo has gone from a lovable loser to a disdained winner. Longtime gamers professed their love for the company while it was struggling during the Nintendo 64 and GameCube eras. Now that the Wii has Nintendo enjoying record success, a lot of the same people have turned their backs on it. Why is that? Is it an abandonment thing? Sure, the company has had tremendous success with the mainstream audience, but it’s still serving up Marios and Zeldas and Metroids for enthusiasts.

Wind Waker

As someone that follows the business, I’m all for the Nintendo Renaissance. It was unexpected and made the market really interesting. As a gamer, I’m happy that the company is enjoying great success. The millions of casual gamers that bought Wii consoles will help make sure that I get new Pokemons, Zeldas, etc. I seem to be in the minority though. A lot of the comments I read at TheFeed (and a few that I’ve seen here) were full of anti-Wii and anti-Nintendo venom. Perhaps it’s entirely fueled by nostalgia, but I don’t see how anyone can hate Nintendo. All I have to do is think about a game like The Wind Waker to get warm fuzzies (of the gaming variety).

On this wonderful Friday, I want to know why you feel that way you to about the Wii. Has the console changed you opinion of Nintendo? Do you feel like the company abandoned you? Or did you just outgrow it?

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Top 10 Most Popular Xbox Live Avatar NFL Jerseys

Pittsburght Steelers dolly clothesMicrosoft’s Major Nelson has revealed the most popular NFL jerseys for Xbox Live dollies avatars. They are:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. N.E. Patriots
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. NY Giants
  6. Chicago Bears
  7. Minnesota Vikings
  8. San Francisco 49ers
  9. Green Bay Packers
  10. Denver Broncos

Does the list surprise you? Any of your Xbox Live avatars rockin’ an NFL jersey?


Michael Pachter Predicts $50 Project Natal and $100 Sony Wand

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has given his price guesstimates on Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s wave motion sex toy EyeWand. He recently told IndustryGamers:

I think that Natal will cost $50, as it only really involves a camera (a three-lensed camera, but a camera nonetheless). The EyeWand, on the other hand, involves a camera and two controllers, so it may be slightly more expensive. I would be surprised if the EyeWand retails for more than $100. Neither impacts the other, as neither is intended to compete with the other.

That last sentence sounded like Professor Trelawney’s prophecy on Voldemort and Harry Potter…but I digress. I’m surprised Pachter doesn’t feel that these are competing products. Am I missing something here? Both are aimed at expanding the audience for their respective consoles. Both will be used to attract more mainstream gamers. Seems like competition to me, but I’m not some highly paid analyst, so what do I know?

Sony Motion Controller

What do you think of Pachter’s price estimates for these motion-control add-ons? Do you agree with him that they’re not competing products?


Analyst Says GameStop Safe From Digital Distribution Until 2017

GameStop logo

Everyone knows that digital distribution is the future of gaming, but nobody can agree on when it will hit. Specialty retailer GameStop and its shareholders would like to know, since digital distribution would make things difficult for the company. The latest guess comes from Broadpoint Amtech analyst Ben Schachter. He told IndustryGamers that the bell will toll in 2017:

There is little doubt that over time more and more media content will be delivered digitally to the home. However, the question of the timing of this trend is critically important as it relates to GME’s stock. In our view, it is unlikely that digital downloads will have any meaningful impact to GME’s business this console cycle (which we think will run through at least 2014). Technologically, full game downloads to a console are feasible already (and there is already a small library of full-games available on Xbox Live), but limited hard drive space (we estimate approximately 70% of current-generation consoles have no hard drives) and bandwidth limitations (full games can be 20GB+) create significant barriers.

These barriers will obviously change over time, but the timing of the replacement cycle is key. Even if one assumes that by 2014 all new consoles have capabilities that eliminate storage and bandwidth concerns (which we believe is unlikely), it will still take several more years before these consoles have significant household penetration.

Hard drive space is a small issues. Storage gets cheaper and cheaper all the time and I have no doubt that the next generation of consoles will have significantly larger HDDs than this generation. I found it curious that Schachter bothered to point out that 70 percent of current-gen systems to not have hard drives. That’s a bit misleading; the Wii is obviously the best-selling system this generation, but its customers are less likely to download full retail games in the future than PS3 or Xbox 360 owners. Hell, a lot of Wii owners can’t be bothered to buy more than one game. I don’t really see a point in him bringing it up.

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250GB PlayStation 3 Slim Official — Landing 11/3 for $349.99

Sony has officially announced details on the 250GB PS3 Slim that everyone knew was coming. Here are some tidbits from the press release:

Following the successful launch of the slimmer and lighter PlayStation 3 system with 120GB hard disk drive (HDD), Sony Computer Entertainment America today announced that a new PS3 system with a 250GB HDD will be available on November 3 for $349.99 (MSRP).

The 250GB PS3 system offers the same form factor and functionality as the current 120GB system, which achieved retail sales of 1 million units worldwide in the three weeks since its launch on September 1. Both models will be available at retail this holiday, providing both gamers and gift-givers with the opportunity to choose the PS3 system that’s right for them.

While it’s not as exciting as the GameCom 2009 announcement of the PS3 Slim and price cut, the 250GB model is pretty important. In addition to giving consumers (that don’t know how to replace a hard drive themselves — duh!) more choice, it allows Sony some wiggle room in the future. With two models, price cuts can be manipulated in a clever way. Besides, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has multiple models, so Sony can use two models to compete for different customers (the differences will be more pronounced as future price cuts occur).

PS3 Slim 3

What do you think of the 250GB PS3 Slim’s price? Any of you plan on picking one up in November?

Microsoft Expects to be Outsold by Sony, Brushes it Off

With the recent price cut to the PlayStation 3, Microsoft expects that it will be behind Sony when the September 2009 NPD console sales figures are released later today. Ultimately, Microsoft feels that it doesn’t matter. Company director of project management Aaron Greenberg told Game Informer:

I can tell you to that when NPD releases September sales later today, we fully expect PlayStation 3 will come in as the console with the most units sold for the month. This is frankly not a real surprise to us or the analysts that follow this industry, as it is typical to see a short term bump following the introduction of new hardware and pricing into the marketplace. What I can tell you is we remain confident that Xbox 360 will not only outsell PS3 for the full calendar year, but for this entire generation. It is similar to a game of baseball, it is not about just winning one inning, but instead being able to win the game by consistently delivering across all nine innings.

While I doubt that Sony can sell enough PS3s to overtake Microsoft for the year, it has a strong chance at outselling its rival for the remainder of 2009, which includes the lucrative holiday-shopping season. Considering the recent economy and the immediate financial future, this console generation will probably be longer than either company expected. This bodes well for Sony; the more time it has to catch up, the better.

Console Wars!!!
Console Wars!!!

What do you think of Aaron’s comments? Do you think the PS3 will outsell the Xbox 360 for the rest of the year? What do you think Sony’s chances are of catching up to Microsoft this generation?