31st January 2010 - Welcome gamers to the 27th instalment of “The Week That Was”. Only one game release this week, but what a game it is! With 40 perfect scores and selling 2 million units in barely a week, the epic space-opera Mass Effect 2 arrived on the 360 (and PC). This second title of a planned trilogy is an absolute must-play for RPG fans. If you haven’t got it already, buy it now!


Nintendo Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii continues to sell extremely well since its release in Australia, the US and Europe in November, and in December for Japan. Nintendo’s “remake” of the classic has now moved 10 million units worldwide, making it the fastest selling “single-game” over a single platform. Modern Warfare 2 still holds the overall edge, but its totals include sales across the 360, PS3 and PC. NSMB Wii beat other Nintendo favourites such as Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl which sold 8 million and 8.43 million copies respectively over a similar time frame.


CVG revealed this week that Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata turned down the chance to sign up the device that became Project Natal. This information comes via a top insider at Nintendo’s Japan headquarters. Back in 2007, 3DV Systems showed an early demo of the technology to Iwata, and despite being impressed with the prototype, he wasn’t completely sold as he wasn’t sure if he could sell it at a Nintendo price point.


Michael Pachter released some NPD data (US figures) this week that highlighted the dominance of first party titles on the WIi. The data showed that 47% of Nintendo game revenue was made up from first party titles, i.e. all your different Mario games, Wii Fit, Wii Sports etc. Interestingly enough, only 27.5 million units of Nintendo games were sold, compared to 44.9 million units of third party titles, but games such as Wii Fit pushed the average price up for Nintendo titles. Pachter also predicted that there is a 25/75 split between hardcore/casual games, a bigger difference than his previously predicted 50-50 split.


Xbox 360

Last week we mentioned how Microsoft was considering scrapping the points system for Xbox LIVE purchases. They may definitely want to hurry that along with news that a lawsuit was filed against the company accusing them of “point fraud”. The class action lawsuit is being lead by Samuel Lassoff who claims that Microsoft didn’t warn him, or countless others, of “point fraud due to incomplete and/or partial downloads”. In other words, he’s complaining over the fact that Microsoft sells points in denominations which often leave leftover/unused points.


Microsoft had a bit of restructuring within their Entertainment and Devices group this week. The company will be merging Windows Media Center and Zune software groups into the same Interactive Entertainment Business group that handles Xbox as well as gaming. This may not seem that important, but some people think this may result in Microsoft producing their own portable multimedia/gaming device.


Microsoft also announced X10 this week. X10 will be a four hour event on Thursday February 11 in San Francisco, where they will showcase various upcoming 360 games and add-ons. Halo: Reach, Alan Wake, Crackdown 2, Fable III and Project Natal are all expected to feature, and possibly a few surprises. The X events started back in 2001 with X01, and ran up to X06 in 2006 before X07 was cancelled and been absent since.


And there was some news about Bungie’s latest Halo game, Halo: Reach, with some of the guys from Bungie saying the game will run on a completely “gutted” version of the Halo 3 engine. The developer is claiming that that they are “bending the Xbox as far as it’ll bend” and using every bit of the CPU and GPU in order to achieve the larger, more detailed levels present in Reach. Hopefully X10 will showcase what the game has to offer.


Playstation 3

Last week we mentioned the rumoured name of “Arc” for the PlayStation’s new motion controller. This week came further evidence of the name with an https://www.betterwhois.com/ search for the owners of “playstationarc.com” showing that Sony Computer Entertainment owns the domain name. A website under www.ps3arc.com has also surfaced with a single picture of the motion controller, but legitimacy of this site is undetermined.


The PlayStation 3 has been unique from its competitors in that it hasn’t had problems with piracy. Well that advantage may be out the window with George Hotz, the man who first hacked the iPhone 2G claiming that he has found a workaround for the PS3. He has already released the details to the public via his blog and will leave it to the world to figure out what to do with it.  Despite working out hacks for the PS3 and iPhone, Hotz claims that he doesn’t condone using the hack for piracy purposes. Sony is currently investigating the situation.


In the most recent Famitsu magazine, Tetsuya Nomura talked about one of his most famous character creations, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. Nomura talked about various things such as Cloud’s design, including his hair and sword, and his back story. More importantly, Nomura once again shot down the idea of a FFVII remake saying, “Fans are looking forward to an oft rumoured remake of FFVII, but I don’t believe this will happen for the time being. However, it’s possible that he will appear in other titles as a guest character.” Just remake the game already!!!


And for those PS3 Grand Theft Auto IV fans, you will soon be able to play the Episodes from Liberty City. This previously 360-exclusive downloadable content will be making its way to the PlayStation network on March 30th. Both “The Lost and Damned” and “Ballad of Gay Tony” will be available over the PSN as well as in stores. Once again, the downloaded versions require a copy of GTAIV to play, whilst the in-store versions do not. This will also be available to PC gamers from this date.


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


· The big news for the week was Apple’s announcement of the iPad. The giant iPhone/iPod touch-like tablet computer is due out in a couple of months and all current iPod touch and iPhone games will work on the iPad. EA and Gameloft look to be major supporters of the iPad.

· Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata isn’t too impressed by the iPad or in-home 3D.

· Despite last year’s lacklustre music-game sales, Harmonix thinks the music genre hasn’t peaked yet.

· Gears of War characters, Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago will be making an appearance in Lost Planet 2.

· Gamers 4 Croydon have revealed their candidates to run against Michael Atkinson, but some people have already written them off.

· US Navy research has shown that playing games can help adults improve their problem-solving and information-processing abilities.

· Analysts are expecting Natal to increase Microsoft’s revenue by over $2 billion dollars.

· Codemasters have cancelled the game “Hei$t”.

· 2K Sports will be awarding one million dollars to the first person to pitch a perfect game in MLB 2K10.

· According to a French gaming website, Ubisoft are planning on developing a soccer title to challenge the likes of FIFA and Pro Evolution.

· Nintendo Wii worldwide sales have now hit 67 million.

· Heavy Rain has gone gold, and you can catch a glimpse of the title with the demo arriving February 11th.


And that’s a wrap. I’m off to play more Mass Effect 2!


Article Written by Phong Nguyen