Gaming News June 2008

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Novint Falcon Limited Edition
i4u :: Monday, June 23, 2008
“Today we are looking at the interesting mouse replacement called the Novint Falcon. The device allows you to feel items in compatible video games and adds a new dimension to games. Overall the Novint Falcon is a very interesting device. The biggest drawback is the lack of top-tier games that are Haptx enabled. Novint is working on that though and more top-tier titles are coming soon. The Novint Falcon works very well, even if it is a bit sluggish for a gamer used to much more sensitive mice.”

Saling The World: Metal Gear Solid 4, Mario Kart Wii Top U.S. Charts
Gamasutra Columns :: Monday, June 23, 2008
Gamasutra’s latest “Saling The World” charts find Mario Kart Wii competing head-to-head with Metal Gear Solid 4 in North American multiplatform sales, while Spore Creature Creator leads the PC charts in its first week of release.

Lian-Li PC-XB01 Xbox 360 Modding Case Details
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
We received more information and pictures of the Lian-Li PC-XB01 Xbox 360 replacement case: <BR><I> XB01 was first shown at the 2008 CES show in USA, and this concept got a lot of feedback and user suggestions. At the 2008 Computex in Taipei, the final vision of the PC-XB01 Xbox 360 modding case was ready for shipping. Xbox360 is a superb video game console and Lian Li wants to make it even better. Lian Li designers designed the case around the Xbox360 main board, and created the XB01 for Xbox 360 owners who want an Xbox 360 with better cooling performance and that works silently. Not only does it work silently and with better cooling, it is all aluminum, in metallic finishing. Rounded edge, in brushed aluminum with anodized finishing, it can be place up-right or flat-down on the table top. The high quality finishing will fit in most user’s living environments. XB01 will help Xbox 360 to have better cooling performance, and running silently. User don’t need to worry about overheating problems anymore. Some Features: * There is a 120mm exhaust fan at the rear of the XB01 to replace the original 2x70mm cooling fan, the 120mm fan can move the heat faster at lower speed, and with less noise. * XB01 has a 12cm fan, with high airflow but it only needs to run at 1500RPM to cool down the Xbox 360 effectively. * The Xbox 360 DVD-drive has been relocated to the side, allowing maximum opening for the graphics chipset heatsink and it will also allow users to change the heatsink. * There are sound insulation foam sheets around the DVD drive to reduce the noise. * Huge aluminum airduct that covers the Xbox 360 heatsinks, the cold air will pass through the cooler to remove the heat. * There are water tube openings at the rear of the case, allowing users to upgrade their Xbox 360 to liquid cooling solutions. * The XB01 includes two fan converters for the different versions of the Xbox 360. * There are aluminum flippers to cover and protect the front connectors. </I><BR><BR> Official Site:

Release This: Wii Rock Band, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 Make U.S. Debut
Gamasutra Columns :: Monday, June 23, 2008
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” examines a week that brings the Wii debut of Rock Band and the Nintendo DS releases of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and Guitar Hero: On Tour in North America, while Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Tales of Symphonia: Knight of Ratatosk premiere overseas.

OXM New Xbox 360 Report Card
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From oxmonline.com : <BR><I> We’re halfway through the year, and probably halfway through the Xbox 360’s lifespan. Does our console make the grade? It’s time for the midterm examination. * Software (First-Party): A * Software (Third-Party): A+ * Hardware: C+ * Xbox Live: B+ * Xbox Live Marketplace: B+ * Marketing & Advertising: C+ * Overall: B+ </I><BR><BR> Full Story: oxmonline.com (4 pages)

Bruce Everiss about MrModchip Case
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
Bruce Everiss, a veteran games marketer, blogged about the recent ‘modchip’ appeal MrModchip won in the UK : <BR><I> Very bad news for any gaming enthusiast. The British appeals court say that modchips don’t circumvent copyright protection. It is only by protecting copyright that game developers can be paid for their work. And if they aren’t paid for their work then they won’t make games as we have seen so many times before. </I><BR><BR>

Halo 3 Takes Advertising Prizes in Cannes
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From adweek.com : <BR><I> CANNES, FRANCE – Four Grand Prix Lions were awarded at the final prize ceremony at the 55th International Advertising Festival here tonight, with two top honors given by the Film jury and two by the Titanium & Integrated jury. The top Film winners were Cadbury’s “Gorilla” by Fallon, London, and Xbox Halo 3’s “Believe” by T.A.G./McCann Worldgroup, San Francisco. The Titanium Grand Prix went to Uniqlo’s “Uniqlock” from Projector Tokyo, which also won the Cyber Grand Prix earlier this week. The Integrated Grand Prix was awarded to the Xbox Halo 3 effort. In Integration, Xbox Halo 3 “stood head and shoulders above the rest” of the contenders, said Tutssel. “The variety of the work they produced was so surprising and so new and so engaging,” he added. “It is breathtakingly beautiful in its craft, thinking, its execution and the way it connected with people. It’s game-changing in its thinking.” The winning Halo 3 campaign, from T.A.G/McCann Worldgroup, San Francisco, included three-minute online executions — “Enemy Weapon,” “Gravesite,” “John 117/Monument” and “Combat” — that delved into the story of the legendary battle between humanity and aliens using documentary-style interviews set 500 years in the future. Another commercial in the campaign, “Diorama,” also received a gold and a bronze Lion. The jury praised its unique approach in the category and the deep level of the storytelling. “You became quite emotional about the pieces as you are moving through the touch points,” said South African juror Paul Warner, founder and executive creative director of MetropolitanRepublic. Halo 3 – “Believe” – John 117/Monument</I><BR><BR> Full Story: adweek.com

Microsoft 1st Party Blunders and the Future
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From xboxkings.com : <BR><I> Microsoft has stated that buying out development houses isn’t always the most sound strategy for both parties involved. However, it is a good way to strengthen MGS and promote growth as well as diversity. Let’s take a look at what Microsft has allowed to to be taken away as well as what could be potentially wise business moves to improve the 1st party development for Microsoft Game Studios. Blunders: 1) Bizarre Creations 2) Bungie 3) Bioware Wise Purchases for the Future: 1) Epic Games 2) Sega 3) Take Two 4) Tomonobu Itagaki/Team Ninja 5) Silicon Knights 6) Real Time Worlds </I><BR><BR> Full Story: xboxkings.com

IGN’s Top 10 Microsoft E3 Reveals (In Their Dreams)
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From xbox360.ign.com : <BR><I> Microsoft is scheduled to kick off this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo with a press conference on Monday, July 14. Needless to say, expectations are high. The company needs to come out with guns blazing to set the tone for the rest of the week. After last year’s showing, we thought MS might like a little help planning this one out. If you recall, the last time MS took gaming’s biggest stage it started out strong with a live performance of the Halo theme song and some Rock Band. Then it took a turn for the worse with “big” announcements of Scene It! and Viva Pi?ata: Party Animals and an appearance by our dawg, Jeff Bell. Family fun is all well and good, but this is E3. We want excitement and instant gratification. We want these 10 games to be featured prominently. So if you’re reading MS, this one’s for you. 10. Gymnast 09. Star Ocean: The Last Hope 08. Fable 2 XBLA Minigames 07. Metal Gear Solid 4 06. Resident Evil 5 05. Mass Effect 2 04. Alan Wake 03. Gears of War 2 02. BioShock 2 01. Peter Jackson’s Halo Project </I><BR><BR> Full Story: xbox360.ign.com (2 pages)

Microsoft promises more new games for E3
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From gamepro.com : <BR><I> “We have not announced all of our line-up yet for 2008 but will provide more details at E3 next month,” said Aaron Greenberg, director of Xbox 360 product management, in an email sent to GamePro on Thursday. “Xbox 360 will continue to be the home to blockbuster games and the most exclusives,” Greenberg added. “By the end of the year we will have over 1,000 games available for Xbox 360, which will be 2-3 times more than any other platform.” </I><BR><BR> Full Story: gamepro.com


The Media Center Extender Shootout: 360 vs Linksys vs D-Link Extender
Xbox Scene :: Monday, June 23, 2008
From engadgethd.com : <BR><I> Vista Media Center really sets itself apart from any other DVR solution out there, and the single greatest advantage Vista Media Center (VMC) has over the other options — like the TiVo HD — is the ability to have multiple Media Center Extenders. There really isn’t any better way out there that will allow you to watch premium HD cable in every room of your house while at the same time centralizing all your media in one place. When VMC first hit the streets, there was only one HD extender: the Xbox 360. But the problem, of course, is that the Xbox is noisy and will always be a gaming console first and a Media Center Extender second. Well, things have really heated up in the extender market recently when both Linksys and D-Link released Media Center Extenders and HP upgraded its MediaSmart HDTVs. Wrap-up We are glad to see so many new ways to access all of our HD content (including recorded HD cable) on any HDTV in the house, and we’re happy to say that every one of these devices is a great solution. But while gamers will be drawn to the value of the Xbox 360, the noise and sheer size of the box prevent it from being the ultimate solution for others. So as much as we miss the cool animated transitions, the old adage “Jack of all trades, master of none” was never more true, and in the case of Media Center Extenders we really prefer the Linksys DMA2100. It is less expensive, boots up faster, and is so small and quiet it will work in just about any application where the main goal is to access VMC. At the same time, it is a close race, and since an Extender is the kind of device you’re likely to own more than one of, we’d probably choose one of each if we were outfitting our entire house. </I><BR><BR> Full Review: engadgethd.com

Rumor: Microsoft to Announce 60GB Xbox 360 at E3?
Xbox Scene :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
From trustedreviews.com : <BR><I> A number of months have passed since I dropped that Xbox 360 60GB bombshell on you guys, so you’re probably wondering what’s going on? Here’s the latest… After much dillying and dallying Microsoft has decided internally that it will announce the long overdue upgrade at E3 next month (the event runs from 15 – 17 July) with a release then scheduled for August (pre-10th says my source). </I><BR><BR> Full Story: trustedreviews.com

Microsoft: Leaked Concepts ‘May Or May Not’ Be Real Products
Xbox Scene :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
From kotaku.com : <BR><I> The recent weekend leak-fest, courtesy of marketing research company Intellisponse, yielded lots of possible upcoming Microsoft projects gleaned from surveys. There was the evidence suggesting that Mii-like avatars could be coming to Xbox Live, the rumored “Lips,” a possible SingStar-type game, and word that a “social interactive” game show channel might be popping up on Live as well. “We regularly test all kinds of concepts in market research with our Xbox community,” said a Microsoft representative. “These may or may not be real products in development or ever be released to consumers.” </I><BR><BR> Full Story: kotaku.com

Microsoft to Show Its Newest Games at the Second Annual E for All Expo
Xbox Scene :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
From the press release: <BR><I> Entertainment for All Expo (E for All) is kicking off its 2008 show with a bang, announcing today that Microsoft Corporation has signed on to exhibit at the 2nd annual E for All? video game event, scheduled to take place October 3-5, 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “We are thrilled that Microsoft Corporation has decided to exhibit at this year’s E for All. The addition of Microsoft’s leading line of products at the event will be a huge benefit for attendees, from hardcore gamers to families, and everyone in between,” said Mary Dolaher, Chief Executive Officer at IDG World Expo, the leading producer of world-class tradeshows and events around the globe and owner of E for All. “Microsoft’s presence at the 2008 event will help us build on the great success of last year’s inaugural E for All event, and will further our goal of building an exciting and cutting-edge event that brings the best and newest games to gamers of all types. We look forward to a terrific 2008 event, and to having the opportunity to bring even more great game products to the great gamers who attend E for All.” Dolaher said additional E for All participants and features will be announced in the coming weeks. For more about E for All, please visit www.EforAllExpo.com. </I><BR><BR>

Saling The World: Metal Gear Solid 4 Outsells Worldwide Competition In Debut Week
Gamasutra Columns :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Gamasutra’s latest “Saling The World” charts find Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4 leading worldwide PS3 software sales, while Lego Indiana Jones continues to do brisk multiplatform business in its second week of release.

Release This: Space Invaders Extreme, Alone in the Dark Make Western Debut
Gamasutra Columns :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” examines a week that brings the North American releases of Space Invaders Extreme and Secret Agent Clank, as the UK hosts the worldwide premieres of Alone in the Dark and Overlord: Raising Hell.

Critical Reception: Taito’s Space Invaders Extreme
Gamasutra Columns :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This week’s edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Taito’s landmark arcade franchise revival Space Invaders Extreme, which critics describe as “a classic brilliantly infused with technicolor, variety, and heaps of caffeine.”

Why Xbox Live isn’t free
Xbox Scene :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
From gamesradar.com : <BR><I> Until recently, Microsoft could brag about how Live was by far the most feature-complete online service on any platform, with a unified Friends list, the best online shop, voice and video chat as standard and a consistent and stable online experience. But in recent months there’s been a shift in the market, and even bigger changes are coming. Microsoft is the only player to charge for online play, and their policy has landed some of the best online games on the 360… but as PC and PlayStation developers offer comparable features at no extra cost, the Gold subscription starts to lose its shine. The launch of the PC’s Steam Community late last year and promises made by Sony at January’s Consumer Electronics Show have placed Microsoft on the back foot, and has all of us asking: what does your annual subscription pay for? Live’s best asset is that it allows even small developers to support online play – the value of which can’t possibly be denied. Without it, we’d never see online play in small-budget XBLA titles or even marginalised full-price games. The question to ask is whether or not that’s worth the precious money from your pocket, on rotation, every 12 months. From the player’s end experience, Live is the leader, but it’s hardly a full fifty bucks/forty-quid ahead of its competition. The market has changed since 2002 and so long as the PlayStation Network and Steam Community threaten to match Live feature-for-feature, Live needs to be obviously better in some other way, especially in the UK where it costs a full fifteen quid more for a yearly subscription than the $50 (?25) cost over in the U.S. At some point in the coming months, PSN will rob Live’s Friends List, completing its mimicry of Microsoft’s system. It’s at that point where questions must start to be asked of Live. It’s certainly easier for developers, but as gamers, perhaps we should rightly expect just a little more from our Gold subscription. </I><BR><BR> Full Story: gamesradar.com (3 pages)

Critical Reception: Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4
Gamasutra Columns :: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This week’s edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Konami’s stealth-action sequel Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which reviews describe as “a dazzling, heart-lifting voyage of discovery.”