With Black Friday only a few days away and projections for the holiday shopping season bleak, it’s not surprising that Sony is making a price cut move on its PlayStation 3 video game console to lure cash-strapped shoppers.
When I was a kid, my mom would drop me off at the library so I could “study.” I would sneak to the basement of the library and play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” on the library’s computer. It turns out I was studying, fooled into playing an educational video game.
The first Google phone may not be a stunner to look at and it doesn’t come packaged with as much hype and glamour as iPhone. However, reviews say G1’s signficance is that it still represents the first real alternative to Apple’s popular touch-screen phone.
The rise of casual video gaming may have grabbed the headlines over the past couple of years, but the more hardcore end of the market dominated at Europe’s biggest gaming convention in Leipzig last week.
Apart from new iterations of popular karaoke-style games such as Activision‘s Guitar Hero, Electronic Arts‘ RockBand and Sony‘s SingStar, which arguably kick-started the trend of easy-to-play casual fare, the world’s biggest games publishers focused on products for their core audience.
Upcoming release Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 was a case in point. Not only does the game involve sending dozens of types of futuristic military unit across apocalyptic landscapes, but EA was marketing it in part on the basis that one of the
actresses in it, Jenny McCarthy, is a former Playboy playmate of the year.
Most publishers were playing it safe, focusing on sequels such as a new version of The Sims — the virtual doll’s house franchise which has sold over 100 million copies since launch in 200? — or movie tie-ins such as a game based on new James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
True innovation was thin on the ground, at least on a whistle-stop tour view of the main publishers’ offerings. Ubisoft demoed a game in the same genre as Command and Conquer which could be fully voice-controlled — apparently a first for consoles — while Sony previewed LittleBigPlanet. This marries the hot theme of user-designed content (think YouTube or MySpace) to an age-old platforming mechanic, the basics of which that would be familiar to anyone who had played Nintendo‘s Mario games.
Cute sack-doll characters jump over flames and on to rising platforms, but the novelty is that most of the game, from the characters’ outfits and personalities to the landscapes over which they clamber can be modified by players and shared online.
But for two of the other most hotly awaited games of the season, there was no news, albeit for opposite reasons. EA’s Spore, in which players guide a lifeform in the Darwinian struggle from primaeval soup to interplanetary conflict, is due out on Sept. 4 and had already been presented in near-final form at other events, so did not get a spot in EA’s main presentation.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the next installment of the online role-playing game that has over 10 million subscribers — was available to play in an early form, but it remained unclear when the final version would be on sale. A spokesman for Activision unit Blizzard could not even confirm it would definitely be out before Christmas.
Video games company Electronic Arts has just updated Wall Street on the latest stage in its drawn-out $2 billion bid for Take-Two Interactive Software with news that it will allow its tender offer to expire at midnight New York time.
It’s the third day of E3. The press conferences are finished and we are finally getting to spend some quality time with some of the most buzzed about games of the coming year.
Electronic Arts provided a glimpse at “Spore,” a much-hyped game where players begin with their own basic microbe and customize their creature to weather environmental conditions and population changes on Earth. Reuters video game reporter Jennifer Martinez gives us the story from the news conference.