21st March 2010 - Welcome to the 33rd instalment of All Age Gaming’s “Week That Was”. We’ll also recap some of the previous week’s news after last week’s hiatus from this segment. In game releases this week, the blockbuster trend continues with the epic God of War III coming out on the PS3. This is a must have for fans of the first two games, and definitely worth a look even if you haven’t tried the others. Other games out this week included Lips: Party Classics on the 360, Metro 2033 on the 360, PS3 and PC, Moto GP 09/10 on the 360 and PS3, and rugby makes its return with Rugby League 3 on the Wii. And if you happened to miss the previous week’s releases, the unimpressive Tony Hawk: Ride arrived for the PS3, 360 and Wii, whilst Yakuza 3 finally made its Western debut on the PS3. Oh yeah, there was also a little something called Final Fantasy XIII on the PS3 and Xbox 360.


Nintendo Wii

During the Games Developers Conference (GDC) a couple of weeks ago, IndustryGamers had a chance to speak to Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime. The hot topic of discussion was third-party support, and the diversion of publisher resources towards the 360 and PS3. Reggie feels as though third parties shouldn’t be deterred as they have a large installed base, an easy platform to develop for and a strong set of tools to create great games. And in terms of “core” games like Bioshock 2, Reggie admitted that Nintendo aren’t good at it and encourage third party developers to make those games.


Reggie also had a stab at Sony’s Motion Controller, the PlayStation Move (read about it in the PS3 section). When asked about Sony’s claims that Wii gamers will make the move to the PS3, he said, “why would you say that?... Consumers love the Wii. What’s going to motivate them to spend minimally $300 for a new (PS3) system, plus minimally $100 for the Move motion bundle?” Reggie may have a point as that is a fair amount of money for an “upgraded” experience.


And in some terrible news, a three-year-old in the US died following an accident where she may have mistaken a real gun for that of a Wii peripheral. The Wii gun that she usually used looks very similar to the gun involved. This incident may raise questions as to why a three-year-old was playing games involving guns, but more importantly why would the parents leave the gun within reach of a child?


Xbox 360

Sony’s PS3 Slim was a huge success, so are Microsoft set to follow with their own slim model? Images have surfaced online of a redesign to the innards of the 360 with the CPU and GPU combined in a single chip. The website of origin claims that testing of the new model was recently complete in China. Microsoft has yet to comment.


Perhaps Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s comments put some weight behind the slim rumours. During a Q&A session a couple of weeks ago, Ballmer was answering a question about hardware diversity (and not necessarily the 360), and voiced his concerns about a lack of diversity. He said, “We may have more form factors in the future that are designed for various price points and options.” More form factors? Perhaps a slim model?


New form factors weren’t the only rumours to hit the 360, with Joystiq claiming they have found documentation regarding a firmware upgrade that would allow 360s to support external hard drives. Users could save and load data from the external hard drives, including game saves, downloadable content, and full game installs. I for one would welcome this idea as the 360 hard drives are too expensive!


And Microsoft also took a shot at Sony this week, with Microsoft director of product management Aaron Greenberg believing the absence of a Blu-Ray drive has contributed to their success. Microsoft has bet on digital distribution and built it so that it can be upgraded via software updates (mind you, the PS3 can be upgraded too), and the lack of a Blu-Ray drive has allowed it to be priced at a more competitive price point. Greenberg mentions the 360’s install base as being twice that of the PS3, which must be US numbers as the worldwide tally is much closer.


Playstation 3

Unless you were living under a rock the last couple of weeks, the biggest gaming news came from Sony’s press conference at this year’s GDC, and that was the official announcement of Sony’s Motion Controller, the PlayStation Move. That’s right, not something cool like Arc, or even less cool like Gem, but Move. The PS Move includes the previously seen motion controller (with the glowing orb on top), PlayStation Eye Camera and a sub-controller similar to the Wii’s nun-chuk. Expected packages will include the Move itself, the Move with the PS Eye Camera, and a bundle with the Move, PS Eye and a PS3.


Various Move games were revealed at the GDC, including what you could consider a Wii Sports Resort clone in “Sports Champions”. Another big announcement was that SOCOM 4 would be compatible with Move. But the biggest news may have come after the GDC with Sony’s official  PlayStation Move site revealing that Gran Turismo 5 will support the controller. I hope this doesn’t push the release back further.


Over in the US, sales of God of War III may be hurt by PS3 shortages. Several major retailers haven’t had stock of the systems for a couple of weeks, but SCEA boss Jack Tretton isn’t too deterred. “It’s not ideal, I won’t kid you,” he said, “but I firmly believe we’ll get our hardware back in stock and keep selling God of War III for a long time.” I wonder if Final Fantasy XIII had anything to do with the shortages?


And with the PlayStation 3 starting to perform strongly, Strategy Analytics thinks it will be the eventual winner of the console war. SA is predicting the PS3 to still be a commercial platform five years after Nintendo replaces the Wii. They expect that over the course of the console’s life, Sony will have sold 127 million PS3s compared to 103 million total Wiis which they think will peak in 2011 (with the PS3 and 360 expected to peak between 2012 and 2014).


And now for the other news in brief:


· Sony also took a stab at the competition this week, with this hilarious PS3 Move ad.

· Microsoft is set to announce their Project Natal line-up at E3 2010.

· Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City for the PS3 and PC has been delayed 2 weeks for “minor content changes” for PAL territories.

· Are Insomniac Games, makers of Resistance and Ratchet & Clank, going multiplatform?

· With poor sales and a slumping market, Sony may consider getting rid of the PSP Go.

· Rumours have been pouring in lately regarding a DS successor, possibly with GameCube quality visuals.

· Crackdown 2 has an official release date.

· Robin looks set for an appearance in Arkham Asylum 2, and the original game is going 3D.

· Rumours of a Gears of War 3 in April 2011 were shot down by a “you’re kidding” from Epic.

· Brisbane’s Mana Bar opened this week.

· Just as we get Yakuza 3, Japan is getting Yakuza 4, and now another title is in the works.

· And there are quite a few good games released on XBLA this week, including Perfect Dark, Fable and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.


Happy gaming!


Article written by Phong Nguyen