25th July 2009 - Welcome readers to this week’s All Age Gaming "The Week That Was". In this week’s episode, can the Wii sell mature games? Can New Zealand kids even download mature content? And is motion control all it’s cracked up to be on the PS3? Read on to find out more!

In new game releases this week, only a couple of Wii games to speak of. Fast Food Panic, a cooking/restaurant game, and of course Wii Sports Resort. Wii Sports Resort is the follow-up to the original Wii Sports, and includes 12 sports to partake in. More importantly though, is that the game will be bundled with the Wii Motion Plus which is needed to play the game. Expect this game to top the Australian charts.

Nintendo Wii:

Starting with Wii news this week, The Conduit is off to a poor start around the world. Despite the fact the game provided an FPS experience tailored for the Wii, sales have been poor in the US with only 72,000 units sold. Meanwhile in Europe, GFK-ChartTrack data has shown that it has only come in at 29th position on the overall charts. Is this a result of the economic crisis? Or are mature games destined to fail on the Wii?

It would appear that Epic’s Mark Rein would agree that mature games will not sell on the Wii. In a chat with IndustryGamers, Rein commented on Epic’s policy of not making Wii games as adult-orientated games tended to be “huge financial flops” on the Wii. However, he would go on to say, “But you know if Nintendo comes out with a Wii 2 or a Wii HD, and it's got a couple more processors and a little more memory and better graphics, then yes we'll be on it.”

The black Wii has been on the mind of many consumers lately, and is due for release in Japan on August 1. Usually the U.S. would follow suit, however there aren’t any plans to release it there as yet. If the U.S. is not going to receive a black Wii, I don’t like the chances of it arriving in Australia.

And, it’s not like the Wii needs any more good publicity to move units, but a recent study from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has shown that playing games such as Wii bowling and boxing require at least as much energy as moderate to intense walking. The study only had a small group of children aged 10 to 13 so I would hardly call the results conclusive. However, it doesn’t take a scientist to realise that waving your arms like a lunatic (unless you’re a Wii waggler) requires more energy than “resting and watching television”.

Xbox 360:

Cliff Bleszinski is in the 360 news again this week, this time praising Microsoft for targeting the “Wii-Fit-type market” with Natal. He would go on to praise the system’s accuracy and lack of lag, but also suggested that it was the type of thing that was more likely to attract “mums and casual gamers”. Whether or not Bleszinski plans to incorporate Natal into the next Gears game is debatable, but appears unlikely as Bleszinski states, “it’s not the kind of thing you tag onto a game like that, right?”

In other Natal news, PaRappa The Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura is thinking of game ideas to suit Project Natal. Matsuura believes Natal will be good for music games, suggesting that a Natal controlled music game may eventually be in the works. Just don’t expect a rock-music game, as Matsuura is looking at other types of music that would provide “another style” and “another interaction”. I say bring back PaRappa The Rapper!

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, it appears Microsoft is indeed banning New Zealand children from downloading anything from Xbox Live. This actually occurred in mid-June but Microsoft have only just recently replied to Kotaku’s questioning over the matter. In their reply, it is now confirmed that any New Zealander under the age of 18 cannot download any Live content in an effort to ensure those under 18 cannot access mature content. Technical issues are currently preventing these individuals from even downloading G-rated content, which will eventually be sorted out so that age-appropriate content can still be accessed. So far, Microsoft has not stated why they have taken this initiative, but a work-around is all too easy by making new accounts with fake birthdates... so what’s the point?

And for those that love Halo, but also love anime, Microsoft is currently producing a Halo anime series. The series will be titled “Halo Legends” and will be a series of seven short films. Five Japanese production houses are working on the animation, while Microsoft’s creative staff will approve the visuals and storytelling. Film distribution will be handled by Warner Bros. and will be available in early 2010 on DVD, Blu-Ray and via digital distribution. Storyline details have been scant thus far.

Playstation 3:

In PS3 news this week, PlayStation 3 Slim rumours continue to surface. This time 1Up.com’s David Ellis has stated in the Listen UP podcast that the slim model will be arriving in August and will be bundled with Madden NFL 10. Ellis also goes on to say that Activision’s threat against Sony to stop producing games for the system is because Sony have decided to tie-in the Slim release with an EA game, and not an Activision game.

Another person disgruntled with Sony is Erik Estavillo. Erik, from San Jose in California, is filing a law suit against SCEA as they suppressed his right to free speech and for causing him pain and suffering by banning his PSN account. The ban came as a result of Erik’s poor behaviour while playing Resistance: Fall of Man. However, Mr. Estavillo also claims that he is disabled by a range of disorders, including agoraphobia – a fear of crowds. The only way he feels he can socialize is through playing online games over the PSN. He is seeking $55,000 in punitive damages, and also wants Sony to stop banning players on the PSN! Good luck Erik, but being a jack-ass online deserves banning.

For those that were not aware, Splinter Cell: Conviction will not be appearing on the PS3. Previous reasons from Ubisoft included the usual production issues, but also that they considered Splinter Cell to be a series linked to the Xbox (ala Final Fantasy with PlayStation... not including FFXIII).  This last week though, Ubisoft’s Steven Masters provided the real reason it won’t appear on the PS3, and that’s because it was a “business decision”. Masters even believes that Ubisoft have the technology to “absolutely execute on the PS3”, so this comes as quite a blow for PS3 owners.

One game that is coming to the PS3 is Uncharted 2, and it is coming soon. Sony have announced the release dates for the game, with the U.S. getting it on October 13th, and Europe (which should also mean Australia) getting it on October 23rd. A number of pre-order bonuses such as weapons for online play, treasure maps and currency multipliers are available for US pre-order customers so hopefully something similar is available locally.

And finally in more PS3 motion-control news, Kish Hirani, head of developer services, and Paul Holman, SCEE vice president of research and development, spoke to Eurogamer about the new technology. Both men have talked up the precision of the controller, with Hirani saying that it is “scarily good” and that it is the sort of technology the army has had for a long time. Holman would go on to say that it is a generation (or two) ahead of other motion controllers on the market. Holman and Hirani also talked about the camera and mic aspects associated with the controllers, stating that the mic would be able to pick up spatial positions between players. Hirani said, “The mic is equally important. It can distinguish where you're sitting in a room, so the four of us could be sitting here and the mic could tell who's talking from where.” More of the interview can be read here.

And now for other news this week in brief:

·         Australia will be getting 2 different limited editions for Tekken 6. The Arcade Stick Edition comes with an arcade stick made by Hori, as well as a 100-page art book. The Collector’s Edition has the art book, poster and a Tekken 6 hoodie.

·         In other limited edition news, Australia will be getting the Prestige edition of Modern Warfare 2. That’s right, we can get our hands on night-vision goggles too! It’ll set you back $199 though. (announced by EB via their twitter page)

·         In more Guitar Hero 5 news, Carlos Santana’s songs and likeness will be featured in the game, Activision have detailed the new Career Mode, and 24 more songs have been announced.

·         The Ghostbusters game cost how much to make?!?!?!?!?

·         With the announcement of the Rock Band Network last week, the floodgates may have opened for downloadable songs. Seattle-based label Sub Pop has bought the equipment to get their songs online, with the aim to release their entire catalogue online, which includes Nirvana’s “Bleach” album

·         Battlefield 1943 has broken digital download records, selling 600,000 copies on the PSN and Xbox Live.

·         Double Fine Productions, the company behind “Brutal Legend”, are filing a countersuit against Activision. Activision originally filed a lawsuit to prevent Brutal Legend being released by EA (after Activision originally dumped it from its line-up), and the countersuit is accusing Activision of trying to kill off Brutal Legend so it cannot compete with Guitar Hero.

·         Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai to open the Tokyo Game Show with a keynote address. In his last keynote address in 2007, Hirai announced the Dualshock 3 controller. What will he have in store for us this year?

And that’s a wrap.


Article Written by Phong Nguyen