20th February 2010 - Welcome back to All Age Gaming’s “Week That Was”, the 30th instalment in all things Wii, 360 and PS3. A couple of game releases this week, headlined by the formerly banned “Aliens Vs Predator” on the 360 and PS3 (and also PC). If that’s not your cup of tea, then Big Catch Bass Fishing was released on the Wii, and it supports the Motion Plus!


Nintendo Wii

In Wii news week, industry analyst Mike Hickey has stated that Nintendo need to cut the price of the Wii, and they need to do it now! Despite Nintendo’s strong performance late last year, Hickey believes competition from Microsoft’s and Sony’s upcoming motion controllers may alter the gaming landscape and Nintendo need to act now to shore up their install base. A price cut from US$200 to US$150 should help immensely before Natal and Arc are introduced. Perhaps a local price-cut would help as well Nintendo?


Despite Tiger Woods’ off-course troubles, EA Sports are still sticking by their man and are set to release a line of sports accessories for the Wii, including a golf club for Tiger Woods PPGA Tour 10 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Other accessories they are set to release include tennis rackets for EA Grand Slam Tennis as well as baseball bats, all of which will support Motion Plus. But the golf clubs are the most interesting, with a maximum length of 36 inches, make sure you have plenty of room before you swing!


And it seems like the Wii keeps losing the support of third party developers, this time with THQ boss Brian Farrell lamenting the lack of a core-audience on the Wii. In an interview with IGN, Farrell said “I’m a huge fan of Nintendo personally, but that’s just not where the audience is or the audience there is fairly limited.” Farrell would continue to say “we don’t branch out and play some of the core experiences on the Wii. If we do, we go HD and play on PS3 or 360.”


Xbox 360

There was more Project Natal news this week, with news that Microsoft are developing a new iteration of a “large franchise” for Natal. This news comes once again via a job advertisement, this time spotted by CVG, with the ad reading, “'MGS is looking for a talented, motivated and experienced Sr. Level Designer who can create innovative game-play solutions for a large franchise..... Must have a clear understanding and experience creating mission/environment design, look and feel, AI, combat, strategy, game-flow, and balance.” What do you think it could be?


In other Natal news Microsoft’s director of product management, Aaron Greenberg, expects Natal to have at least a 5-year lifespan. When speaking to CVG about Natal, Greenberg said “The richness of the technology is going to really enable experiences that never had existed before. And we’re not just speaking about what we’re doing this year, but I think two, three, four, five years from now as this evolves.”


In the mobile world, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the Windows Phone 7 series at Mobile World Congress 2010 this week. Available by holiday 2010 (near Christmas), it will deliver the “first and only official Xbox Live experience on a phone.” It will include Xbox Live games, Live’s Spotlight feed and you will also be able to see your Avatar, achievements and gamer profile.


And in a war of words with Sony this week, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg has said that no other platform “offers more exclusives” than the Xbox 360. He elaborated by saying, "Obviously there are going to be great games on the PlayStation 3, and we respect that, but our goal is to have the most blockbuster titles and the most exclusives and I think we clearly have that this year." One for the fanboys to argue out, but if you want to talk about the number of exclusives, then the Wii would win hands-down.


Playstation 3

Sony are set to show off their motion controller at the Games Developers Conference (GDC) on March 11. The 60 minute session titled “Introducing the PlayStation 3 Motion Controller” will be held by Sony’s David Coombes and Kirk Bender. There aren’t any details as to what games will be shown off (if any) so hopefully there will be something good. You can read the description of the show here.


Microsoft aren’t the only ones bringing their console experiences to mobiles, with Sony confirming that the PlayStation Network is coming to Sony Ericsson mobile phones. Sony had previously mentioned using the PSN id’s to network with other devices such as Bravia TV’s, Sony Vaio laptops and Blu-Ray players but this is the first confirmation relating to mobiles. Infiltration of this could potentially be enormous, with Sony announcing the PSN user base has reached 40 million, far greater than Microsoft’s 23 million Xbox Live Gold members (note – GOLD members, doesn’t include those people like myself on a silver account).


In other PSN news, Sony have announced the launch of FirstPlay, an interactive show available over the PSN providing game reviews and previews, as well as exclusive access to downloadable content. It will be launched in the UK next month, and then eventually to other European and PAL territories later in the year. A 3 month subscription will cost £8.99, or single episodes can be purchased for 99p. An Australian release has yet to be announced.


And Sony’s jab at the competition came from SCEA Senior Vice President of Publisher Relations Rob Dyer, saying that the PS3 serves publishers better than the 360. Dyer spoke about the performance of titles on the PS3 compared to 360 based on the install bases, and except for shooters, Sony outperform the 360 in every other category, i.e. sports, fighting, action/adventure, music etc. Dyer said, “we do better for our publishing community than the 360 does” and that Sony’s software sales will further improve “as the installed base continues to grow.”


And it’s that time again! It’s the other weeks news in brief:


· If you missed Michael Atkinson on Good Game this week, he mentioned that he feels his family is more at risk from gamers than the outlaw motorcycle gangs that also hate him.

· Just for the record, 85% of MA15+ games in Australia have an equivalent “17 and older” rating in the US, and 50% are rated 18+ in Europe.

· The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) got in the act and announced their submission on the R18+ discussion.

· There’s a new update for Uncharted 2 and it includes some multiplayer trophies.

· A bit of drama last week with some Xbox 360 and PS3 comparison screens that were actually identical images (except for the button overlay). NowGamer have done a comparison and consider the 360 version to be “slightly worse”, whereas PRNews is claiming that the 360 version only runs at 576p.

· At least the 360 is getting an awesome FFXIII bundle.

· In other FFXIII news, don’t expect any DLC for the game.

· Will they or won’t they? SquareEnix have revealed that they are still interested in the concept of a Final Fantasy VII remake.

· Three Street Fighter III characters have been confirmed for Super Street Fighter IV.

· EA will be pulling the plug on servers for more games next month. Not as bad as Midway though, with all their XBLA games taken down.

· Xbox Live: Helps prevent school shootings.

· Could the addition of cross-game chat come at a cost for PSN users?

· Are Sony working on a multi-platform controller?

· We all know that The Sims releases way too many expansion packs. Imagine how many more would’ve been released had Activision not passed on it?


Happy gaming!


Article written by Phong Nguyen