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AAG Feature: The Week That Was #17

Welcome to week 17 of “The Week That Was”. Hope you all had a good Halloween, but now it’s on to November! Another big week in game releases this week (just imagine how bad this lead up to Christmas would have been had so many games not been delayed!). The latest in the Tekken series hit shelves this week with Tekken 6 on PS3 and 360. The 360 also saw the release of Dragon Age: Origins (also on PC, on PS3 in a couple more weeks) and also snowboarding game Stoked. The PS3 had a couple of exclusives in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, Singstar Take That, and Buzz! Quiz World. And the Wii also had some console exclusives in World of Zoo, Rabbids Go Home, and Cricket. There were plenty of other games not worth mentioning unless you’re into family quiz games or Wii shovel-ware.

Nintendo Wii

Starting with Wii news this week, Wii HD has been a topic of interest again. Once again though, Nintendo has shot down the idea of a Wii HD in the near future, but according to Denise Kaigler of Nintendo USA, HD is “one of the things we’re keeping in mind for the future.” The Wii was not originally fitted with HD abilities as the install base of HDTV’s was much less back in 2006. With 71% of the US households (the largest market) to own a HDTV by year’s end, Nintendo will have to get a move on.

A lack of HD in the Wii hasn’t stopped Wii Sports from selling a whopping 50 million units worldwide. That number does include copies bundled with the console, as seen in Australia and Europe, but still impressive nevertheless. Wii Play also has impressive sales figures at 24.4 million lifetime sales, and Wii Fit has sold 22.5 million. Wii Sports Resort is also faring extremely well, already closing in on the 7 million mark. Nintendo just needs some more blockbusters like these to get them out of their current sales slump.

I have a suggestion for Nintendo… Release more serious games, and stop letting junk like this get through. If you clicked on the link, then you would’ve seen Nintendo’s latest (and definitely not greatest) controller peripheral. It is indeed a doll made for the Wii-exclusive “Baby and Me”, where the Wii remote can be attached and you can rock the baby to rock the on-screen baby. The baby will also giggle, gurgle or cry through the Wii remote and the game even includes balance board support! I wonder if the OFLC will be all over this as a potential baby-shaking game…

And Nintendo will soon be offering WiiWare demos. A test program to allow the demos will come out sometime this month according to Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. Iwata hopes the availability of demos will attract more gamers to the Wii shopping channel, as most people that browse the channel already know what they want. The program isn’t official, and is unknown whether it will be Japan only, or worldwide.

Xbox 360

To combat cheating in multiplayer Live games, Microsoft will be giving developers the option to leave out private chat between players. If you’re wondering how it’s possible to cheat via chat, players can have a private conversation with other players, and they can then relay the positions of their enemies to each other. This can still happen even when players have died in game and might still be following the action. New games will now have the option to force players to join the overall game chat, or stay in private chat but not join the game. This affected the most are likely to be those that wish to private chat to friends playing other games.

More information has surfaced regarding the Xbox Live Rewards program that will launch in the US. The pilot program will run for the next six months, and will involve a tiered system. The three tiers are the gray tier (lowest), green tier (middle) and orange tier (highest). Depending on which tier you are in will determine which actions will net you rewards (Microsoft points or discounts). Things such as renewing your Gold Subscription or participating in program surveys will result in awards.

On the shady side of things, the 360 and PC versions of Modern Warfare 2 have been reportedly been leaked online. Microsoft and Activision have warned players from going on Xbox Live with leaked copies of Modern Warfare 2 before the official November 10 release date, and will face being banned or even legal action. This will likely include copies leaked by retailers, so if you manage to get an early copy, don’t play it online!

And Microsoft will be limiting the new social networking applications in their next update to those over 18 years of age. According to Major Nelson, this decision was made as parents would not be able to use the Family Settings to customise access to the Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm applications. However, an update will arrive in the future that allows customisation of which applications children can and cannot access.

Playstation 3

This week saw the official announcement of the PlayTV HDTV tuner peripheral for the PS3. The add-on will be launched on the 26th of November and retail for $170. The device will allow PS3 owners to record and replay TV shows, essentially turning it into a HD digital tuner and video recorder. PlayTV also happens to sport twin tuners, so you can watch one channel while recording another. It’s good to see it released locally after being available in the UK for a year now.

We also saw the release of the Sony Ericsson Aino this week, the latest mobile phone from Sony that allows users to control their PS3’s via the phone. The phone uses Remote Play, a service developed for the PS3 and PSP, and allows users to access content on their PS3’s either through a local network or via internet. The Aino can also pull media from your PC onto your phone as well. It retails for $949 for those interested..

Some gamers recently had problems with the 3.0 or 3.01 firmware update where their consoles were “bricked”. Well a couple of disgruntled PS3 owners are now suing Sony over their bricked consoles. When the problem occurred, both gamers were told their system failures were unrelated to the system update and would be charged $150 to get their systems fixed. Microsoft were hit with a similar lawsuit in late 2006, and the matter was settled out of court.

And for those eagerly anticipating the oft-delayed Gran Turismo 5, it appears that the game will feature a full track editor. Gaming website E4G were told by a Polyphony Digital developer, “Yes it will have a track editor. You will be able to rebuild a track from scratch or edit the tracks that are already put in Gran Turismo 5.” This is still considered a rumour, so keep an eye out for official confirmation.

And now the week’s other news in brief:

The Modern Warfare 2 killstreak rewards have been revealed (unconfirmed list).

The N-Gage is still around? Apparently it is, but Nokia are planning to axe the N-Gage games service.

The Heavy Rain founder is confident the game will be rated and released in Australia, despite the interactive sex and stripping scenes.

For those that still enjoy their printed media, Game Informer are launching an Australian edition.

Britain have opened their first gaming addiction clinic.

First it was Courtney Love suing Activision over the misuse of Kurt Cobain’s likeness in Guitar Hero 5. This time it’s No Doubt suing over the misuse of their likeness in Band Hero.

Not only is the Wii a great console for gaming and exercise, it also works as bail.

The Wii however, can’t deliver on Infinity Ward’s ambitions in terms of the Modern Warfare franchise.

Gran Turismo 5’s development cost reached $60million.

A new political party is set to challenge Michael Atkinson’s Labor seat of Croydon.

PETA is against the new Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus game.

The success of the Wii may have saved the PS3 from being crushed by Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Unlike most of the world, the Australian gaming industry experienced an 8.3% increase in sales.

Reggie thinks New Super Mario Bros. Wii will outsell Modern Warfare 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

And that’s the news. Thank you, come again!

Article written by Phong Nguyen

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