We’re smack dab in the middle of the Q4 release rush. There are lots of interesting games this week, including some excellent platform exclusives. Lots of PS3 gamers are high on Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, while Xbox 360 gamers will get their motors runnin’ with Forza Motorsport 3. Here are this week’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS releases…along with some brief commentary. I’ve taken out most of the garbage and kids games (unless I found them funny).
Let me know what games you plan on picking up this week (please)!
Xbox 360 CSI Deadly Intent — You know Jim, sometimes the box exes you. (yooooowwwwww!)
DJ Hero — The reviews are good, but I wonder how many people are going to buy an expensive game in this economic climate.
Fairytale Fights — A lot of you probably haven’t been following this one, but it looks like fun.
Forza Motorsport 3 — Microsoft’s first-party racer makes its highly-anticipated return.
Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City
Jurassic the Hunted
Tekken 6 — I wonder if Tekken will do as well as or surpass Street Fighter IV.
NPD Group has issued its console software sales data for September 2009. Did MTV Games prove that all you need is love and a cool Gretsch peripheral? Or did Activision trounce it with the more varied Guitar Hero 5? Do any of you doubt that Halo 3: ODST did some major damage? Was Batman strong enough to take on the entire Marvel Universe? Let’s take a look!
Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360): 1,520,000
Wii Sports Resort (Wii): 442,900
Madden NFL 10 (Xbox 360): 289,600
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (Nintendo DS): 258,100
The Beatles: Rock Band (Xbox 360): 254,000
Madden NFL 10 (PlayStation 3): 246,500
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360): 236,000
Batman: Arkham Asylum (PlayStation 3): 212,500
Guitar Hero 5 (Xbox 360): 210,800
The Beatles: Rock Band (Wii): 208,600
I’m relieved that The Beatles: Rock Band did better than Guitar Hero 5. I don’t have anything against GH5, but I needed to know that America had the good taste to support The Beatles. I’m a little bummed that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 didn’t perform better, but I’m also not surprised. At the end of the day, the chart was dominated by balls (Madden) and guns (Halo). While millions of people are (what I like to call) balls-and-guns gamers, that’s just not my thing. Seriously though, it’s not so much about the genre, but two strongly established brands performing extremely well in September.
What do you think of NPD’s September sales figures? Anything surprise you?
NPD Group has issued its console hardware sales data for September 2009. How big of a difference did Sony’s PlayStation 3 price cut make? Was Microsoft able to do some damage control? Did the Wii — which still continues to dominate the field — continue its slide? Let’s find out!
Nintendo DS: 524,200
PlayStation 3: 491,800
Xbox 360: 352,600
PlayStation 2: 146,000
Ah, there’s nothing like a price cut to make the console wars more interesting, eh? The $100 price reduction and the introduction of the PS3 Slim helped Sony achieve some nice numbers. It will be interesting to see if it can hang onto the momentum for the rest of 2009. Although the Wii’s pace has cooled off, it’s still selling well and adding to a huge installed base. The Nintendo DS? That portable console has yet to encounter any kryptonite.
What do you guys and dolls make of the September numbers?!? Is this the start of Sony’s big comeback? Or it it just a temporary thing, like some Microsoft executives suggest?
While it’s not as big as last week — with Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2 leading the way — there are some significant titles shipping this Tuesday. The two biggest games on the list are Borderlands and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 (which will likely go down in history as having the best writing in any videogame made by man). Here are this week’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS releases…along with some brief commentary. I’ve taken out most of the garbage and kids games (unless I found them funny).
Are you picking up any of this week’s releases? If so, leave a comment and let me know which ones.
PlayStation 3 Bakugan
Borderlands — Super looking forward to this one. It looks stylish and smart, but I’m not sure how well it will sell. I’m hoping the best for Gearbox though.
FIFA Soccer 2010
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 — The Mickie James storyline is one of the most heart-wrenching experience you’ll ever find in a videogame.
Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver for Nintendo DS are destined to be enormous hits, but just in case that isn’t enough for Pokefreaks around the world, the games are getting an excellent soundtrack treatment. According to Andrisang:
Announced earlier this week, the Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul SilverMusic Super Complete soundtrack contains 3 CDs with 270 tracks totaling around 3 hours of music. Outside of the game’s main music tracks, the soundtrack also includes the Pokemon Gold and Silver music as recreated via the in-game GB Player.
Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to pick this up on my next trip to Japan. It’s too good.
The fine folks at GamePro did some sleuthing and came across a lovely teaser from Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario; he’s working on a new Mario title that’s not part of the Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Bros. series. Martinet sent out a tweet that said:
Awesome new Mario Game! And it’s not NSMB Wii, and it’s not Galaxy 2, but it’s going to be crazy fun!
Any guesses as what it could be? Keep in mind that Martinet has voiced several Nintendo characters, including Wario, Luigi, Waluigi, Baby Mario, Wart, Clawgrip, Triclyde, Mouser, and several Punch-Out!! characters.
Also, remind me to tell you how I randomly bumped into Martinet while looking at gaming magazines at a Tower Records in San Francisco in 2002.
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.
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?
Should videogame difficulty automatically scale to the level of the player? That’s what Julian Togelius and Georgios Yannakakis (I caught Yannakakis from a mosquito in Thailand once) from the IT University of Copenhagen believe. According to New Scientist, the pair conducted an adaptive-gaming experiment using Super Mario Bros.
For those who fret that their hard-earned money might be wasted on a dud computer game, help could soon be at hand. A new breed of game aims to suit everyone by adapting to an individual’s playing style.
To investigate the idea, the researchers altered the game Super Mario Bros, varying parameters such as the number and type of enemies and the size of gaps between platforms in response to how the players fared. The game also records a player’s moves, including how often they run and jump, and the time spent standing still.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime called out Sony’s PSPgo. The only gaming executive with laser-beam eyes said:
“I have the utmost respect for all our competitors, but it’s interesting to try and answer the consumer question of ‘What’s in it for me?’ in that product. [I have a] fundamental concept problem in terms of ‘Who’s it for?’ and ‘What’s the benefit?'”
Fils-Aime’s points are completely legitimate. While the PSPgo is a sexy piece of consumer electronics and an important gaming device in terms of what it represents for digital distribution, it’s also a poor value. Sony will sell systems to early adopters that must have the latest models ASAP (I guess this answers Fils-Aime’s question), but beyond that, $249 is a lot of money for a system that doesn’t have enough advantages over its forerunners.
All that said, early reports are that the PSPgo is selling well. It will be interesting to see if the brisk sales continue throughout this holiday season.
What do you think of Reggie’s comments? Does he have a point?