This Week’s Videogame Releases

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)!

Forza Motorsport 3

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.

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UMD Games Available for Digital Download on PSN

Marvel Superhero Squad

Sony Computer Entertainment of America’s recent PlayStation Store update includes 18 PSP UMD releases that are available for digital download. Most of them are older titles, but a few are current releases. Here’s the list:

  • Armored Core: Formula Front ($14.99)
  • Capcom Puzzle World ($19.99)
  • Crimson Gem Saga ($29.99)
  • FIFA Soccer 10 ($39.99)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories ($19.99)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories ($19.99)
  • Half-Minute Hero ($29.99)
  • Hammerin’ Hero ($19.99)
  • Lemmings ($15.99)
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad ($29.99)
  • Riviera: The Promised Land ($14.99)
  • R-Type Command ($14.99)
  • The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun ($29.99)
  • Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament ($29.99)
  • Undead Knights ($39.99)
  • Yggdra Union ($14.99)
  • The Warriors ($19.99)
  • WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2010 ($39.99)

It’s interesting and disappointing to see that the new releases carry the same prices as their retail counterparts. With shipping, retail, and other costs eliminated, you’d think that you might be able to save a buck or two on a game. On a positive note (especially for PSPgo owners), it’s nice to see third-party publishers making PSP games available for digital download the same week they hit stores.

With a new PSP game, would you rather have the UMD (complete with the box and instruction manual) or would you opt for the convenience of a digital download?


Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Japanese Release Date

Square Enix’s highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep for Sony PlayStation Portable has been slated for January 9, 2010 according to Andriasang. While a general January time frame was given by the company during Tokyo Game Show 2009, the date is now set in stone by way of keyblade.

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

Hopefully localization will be quick and North American Kingdom Hearts fans will get Birth by Sleep a few months later. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was released on May 2009 in Japan and September 2009 in North America — a four-month gap. However, that’s a Nintendo DS game; Birth by Sleep will require more localization time, especially with the voice acting. I’d love an American version by June, but wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t arrive until August.

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Oddworld Inhabitants Invade PlayStation Network

Oddworld Abe

A pair of Oddworld classics for the PlayStation are coming to PSN on 10/22 — Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus!!! I’m a huge fan of these two games and the developer, Oddworld Inhabitants, so I was thrilled to read company co-founder Lorne Lanning on the PlayStation Blog. He wrote:

It was only about six years ago that I told our agent at the time, “Larry, don’t you get it!? Our classic Abe games are history. The systems that played them are gone and they aren’t coming back. Ours is a disposable medium and we don’t have a Turner Classics channel.” He looked at me with this defeated expression and said, “Dude, that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard you say.” He believed me, and I too believed it at the time.

Six years later and I have to admit it’s great being proved wrong.

It’s great to have two of the most imaginative and entertaining PSone games on PSN. Any of you guys and gals going to download them? I highly recommend it.

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NPD Console Sales Figures Top 10 Games of September 2009

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!

The Beatles Rock Band

  1. Halo 3: ODST (Xbox 360): 1,520,000
  2. Wii Sports Resort (Wii): 442,900
  3. Madden NFL 10 (Xbox 360): 289,600
  4. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (Nintendo DS): 258,100
  5. The Beatles: Rock Band (Xbox 360): 254,000
  6. Madden NFL 10 (PlayStation 3): 246,500
  7. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360): 236,000
  8. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PlayStation 3): 212,500
  9. Guitar Hero 5 (Xbox 360): 210,800
  10. 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 Hardware Sales Figures for September 2009

    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!

    Console Wars!!!
    Console Wars!!!
    • Nintendo DS: 524,200
    • PlayStation 3: 491,800
    • Wii: 462,800
    • Xbox 360: 352,600
    • PSP: 190,400
    • 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?

    This Week’s Videogame Releases

    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.

    Smackdown vs Raw 2010 a

    PlayStation 3
    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
    Madagascar Kartz
    WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 — The Mickie James storyline is one of the most heart-wrenching experience you’ll ever find in a videogame.

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    NIS America is Calling All Badman Fans

    Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman

    NIS America is calling on all gamers that want Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! on UMD. The company is holding a pre-order drive to make this digital download a UMD reality. A NISA representative said:

    We have received lots of emails from our fans about the UMD version of Badman, and we did a poll for it. Turned out, lots of people are still interested in Badman UMD. So we decided to support their needs. (And, we really REALLY wanted to make the UMD version of Badman, too!) We’ve decided to start the preorder, and if we get 1,000 orders we will go ahead and manufacture the UMD version of Badman.

    NIS America is one of my favorite game publishers. The company puts out unique games with a quirky sense of humor (I love the Disgaea series!). I hope it gets the support it needs to make Badman happen on UMD. Click here if you’re interesting in helping the Badman movement.

    Bloons for PSP Minis Video

    Bloons is a PSP Minis game that looks like simple fun — exactly what I’m looking for in PSP Minis. According to YouTube user ThePspTester:

    BLOONS is an exciting puzzle game based on the simple fact that popping balloons is fun!

    It’s hard to argue with him/her. Watching the video makes me want to play the game.

    Any of you been playing around with PSP Minis? Any recommendations?

    Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime Calls Out Sony’s PSPgo

    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?'”

    Nintend of America President and COO Reggie Fils-AimeFils-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?