24th January 2010 - Another week, and another of All Age Gaming’s “The Week That Was”. Welcome to our 26th instalment of all things Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3. Another quiet week in terms of game releases with only the one release. Dark Void makes its way onto the PS3 and 360. Maybe put this in the “rental” pile.


Nintendo Wii

In Wii news this week, an Australian release date for the new pink and blue Wii Remotes was revealed. Australians will be able to get their hands on the new Wii Remotes come February 25. We will also be getting the black versions on the same date, as well as the black Nunchuks and MotionPlus units. All that is left is the black Wii console.


Most Wii owners probably realise that the online functionality of the system isn’t touted nearly as much as the competition. A couple of developers have called out Nintendo on this fact with Jag Jaege of JV Games saying, “We feel that Nintendo is not doing enough to promote the service at all. We feel that the vast majority of Wii owners have absolutely no idea that they can even connect to the internet.” Nic Watt of Nnooo! Games feels Nintendo could do more to keep WiiWare and DSiWare stores in customer’s minds, as he believes most people don’t frequent the stores nearly enough.


On the back of the complaints, Nintendo announced a new campaign to promote the online functionality of the Wii and DSi in the UK. The three week campaign will air across British TV as well as in gaming stores. Despite the focus on their online functionality and downloadable games, Nintendo are reassuring consumers that WiiWare and DSiWare aren’t threats to the retail business. This is all well and good Nintendo, but is a three week campaign in the UK enough?


And in Japan, Nintendo have launched a new range of budget-priced Wii games. The range will go under the name of “Everyone’s Recommendation Selection”, with the titles on offer being based on user-ratings received on the Wii’s Nintendo Channel. This is a good way to help promote third-party titles that might have struggled in the market. The range launches on February 25th, with a retail price of ¥2,800 ($34 AUD). Japan will also be giving their mature games a make-over, with the cases of games rated 15+ getting some fancy black trim.


Xbox 360

Microsoft may be taking the next step into making the Xbox 360 the ultimate entertainment device, with news that Microsoft are in talks with Disney regarding a programming deal with ESPN. The deal would involve a subscription fee to ESPN that would allow 360 users to stream live sporting events, similar to their internet service ESPN 360. There may even be some interactive games in association with ESPN. It would be likely that this would be a US only deal.


In other LIVE related news, Microsoft’s Xbox group product manager has hinted at the possibility of Microsoft Points being scrapped. Speaking about the pricing of LIVE media, Aaron Greenberg said, “We never intended to ever mislead people. I think we want to be transparent about it, and so it is something that we’re looking at.” Scrapping a points system and having a simple dollar value for the 360 marketplace would definitely reduce any confusion about prices.


Games analyst Michael Pachter is making headlines again, believing that Epic Games (responsible for Gears of War) are regretful for signing a long term exclusive deal with Microsoft. He believes Gears would have been big on the PS3 as well and as a result Epic has lost out on a lot of money. Epic Games VP Mark Rein was quick to comment saying, “we have a great relationship with Microsoft and we have no regrets.”


And the highly anticipated 360 (and PC) game, Mass Effect 2, will be released next week. To celebrate that, Microsoft is releasing a Mass Effect Elite Xbox 360 bundle that comes with a 250GB Elite console (plain Elite, no custom design), headset, two wireless controllers and a copy of the game – all for $599. EB Games will also be celebrating the release with a launch event at their Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne city stores. It will be a 7am-10am event (no midnight parties this time) and there will be some freebies for the first people there. It doesn’t stop there, as there will be free DLC upon the games release.


Playstation 3

In PS3 news this week, the previously-optional 3.15 firmware update has now become mandatory. The main component of the update was to allow for PSP minis compatibility. Meanwhile, the previous 3.10 update may have been causing problems with some PS3 blu-ray drives. Over on the PlayStation forums, various gamers have reported problems where Modern Warfare 2 has been freezing in game. After getting the MW2 problems, other games have started to have problems and so a combination of the two might be the cause. Has anyone else had this problem?


We had previously reported on a suspected name of Gem for the PS3 motion controller. This week, VG247 reported that they had it on “good authority” that the actual name for it will be “Arc”. Their source of information comes from a concrete source speaking under conditions of anonymity. As usual, Sony refuses to comment on rumour or speculation. What are your thoughts readers? Do you like the name?


Sony weren’t completely quiet this week about the motion controller though. In fact they were gracious enough to reveal that the controller will be... delayed. Instead of the expected Spring 2010 date, Sony will be releasing the controller in fall instead. By releasing in fall, Sony will be able to “offer an exciting and varied line-up of software titles that will deliver the new entertainment experience to PS3 users.”


And it had to happen sooner or later, but someone has been “sexually assaulted” in PlayStation Home. The Daily Telegraph had a story this week about a female gamer that had someone harass her by following her around, and using the “crouch” gesture every time he was behind her. It happened multiple times and he was eventually reported by the female gamer as well as by some bystanders. A roommate of the victim has recommended some odd punishments, but a ban from Home would make the most sense.


And now for this week’s other news in brief:


- Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says the publisher will be focusing on quality rather than quantity. I will believe it when I see it.

- Michael Atkinson won’t surrender the anti-R18+ fight and believes his stance could change if the gaming community engages in a civilised debate.

- Perhaps Mr. Atkinson could be civilised himself and not taunt gamers by saying, “I assume the Gamers4Croydon campaign will involve criminal activities and dirty tricks, which is what I’ve come to expect from gamers”.

- Apparently DJ Hero was the highest grossing new IP across Europe and the US last year.

- Speaking of new IPs, even though it seems every game released is a sequel of some sorts, the number of new Intellectual Properties is on the rise.

- The PS2, PS3 and PSP are now officially on sale in Vietnam.

- The previously mentioned Rock Band Network launched their beta version this week.

- Australians spent over $2 billion on games hardware, software and accessories in 2009, a record year. And these were the best-selling games in that time, and this is the hardware lifetime sales list for the 6 current consoles and handhelds.

- A study has shown that those that are good at games tend to have more gray matter in certain areas of their brains.

- Has Nathan Drake’s voice actor spilt the beans on Uncharted 3?

- The God of War Trilogy might be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more God of War games.

- Namco Bandai unveiled a Digital Delivery Channel on Facebook.

- Wii Play is the highest selling console game of all time in the US.

- Crysis 2 is coming to the PS3.

- Red Steel 2 will hit Aussie shores on March 25th, and can be bought with or without MotionPlus which is necessary to play the game.

- And Zipper Interactive’s (makers of MAG) Ben Jones thinks Xbox Live is “more juvenile” than PlayStation Network because of what’s said over Live.


And that’s a wrap.


Article Written by Phong Nguyen