MediaFile

Sony offers big PS3 price cut, if you can get the credit

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.

Now, you can get a hearty $150 price cut on the PlayStation 3 console. The caveat: you’ve got to sign up for a shiny new PlayStation credit card first.

There’s two ways to take advantage of the deal, it just depends how badly you want the PS3.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the console, go to www.sony.com/newpscard to get instant approval for the PlayStation credit card and the visit the Sony Rewards site to purchase the PS3. You’ll receive a $150 credit for the PS3 after you’ve been approved for the card. What’s more, gamers who receive instant approval for the credit card will receive a coupon from Sony for a buy one, get one free offer on any Blu-Ray DVD purchase.

For those who are slightly more patient, sign up for the card at www.sony.com/getpscard and use it at any Sony retailer to purchase the PS3. The $150 credit will show up on the next billing statement.

Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime: “Very Optimistic”

Wouldn’t you like to be Reggie Fils-Aime right now. Things probably couldn’t be better for the President of Nintendo of America — largely the face behind the popular “Wii” phenomenon — despite the global economic troubles.

While other executives speaking at the BMO Capital Markets Interactive Entertainment Conference today sprinkled words of concern into their otherwise upbeat addresses, Fils-Aime plainly and confidently said Nintendo is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Reuters talked to Fils-Aime about Wii availability, the DS handheld game, the future of ‘packaged’ games versus online games, and price cuts.

Microsoft-backed start-up eyes kid gamer market

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.

Kids love video games, so why not make them fun and educational? That’s the idea behind a Seattle-based start-up, partially funded by Microsoft, called Sabi Inc., which is releasing a new game called “ItzaBitza.”

The reading and drawing game is targeted at children four years and older. It features a technology developed by Microsoft’s research division called “Living Ink,” which allows children to draw objects, such as a house or a tree, that come to life and interact with the game’s characters.

Move over Mom, Lifetime’s got game

When the going gets tough, the tough play dress up.

Women-focused cable channel Lifetime Network on Monday expanded its push into gaming by buying Korean casual gaming site, Roiworld.com, the No. 1 teen dress up site in Korea.

Terms were undisclosed, but the company says its move to tap into the female gaming audience, particularly where they use avatars to dress up,  is paying big and younger dividends.

While Lifetime’s traditional TV audience has tended  to skew to more mature women,  the network is trying to broaden its audience to include more younger viewers and its Web dress-up properties are drawing women, largely aged 30 and below. Roiworld.com will bring more than 1,000 additional fashion and style games to the Lifetime Games portfolio, which it claims is a  top 25 online destination among casual gaming sites.

Reviews mixed on first Google-powered phone

andriod.jpgThe 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.

But to call the reviews mixed is putting it mildy.

David Pogue of the New York Times calls the phone’s appearance “ungainly” and says “Nobody looks at G1 and says, “Ooooh, I gotta have that.”

But the same review also proclaims that device’s user interface is “polished enough to give Windows Mobile an inferiority complex the size of Australia.”

Video games industry appeals to core gamers at Leipzig convention

gamersleipzig.jpg

    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 ArtsRockBand 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.

    * Where do you think gaming is going in the run-up to this year’s holiday season? Were you at the Leipzig Games Convention? Tell us what you think below.

Take-Two to EA: Check us out in private

grandtheftauto4.jpgProgress?

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.

But Take-Two, maker of the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, said it is now willing to provide a management presentation to EA containing non-public information in connection with the bid such as its three-year product release schedule and financial projections.

EA and Take-Two’s chief executives exchanged letters over the weekend and had a phone conversation on Friday.

“Resident Evil 5″ ups the action — and the violence

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.

Video games reporter Kemp Powers stopped by the Capcom booth and shot and slashed his way through one of the most impressive games of the show, “Resident Evil 5.” (Video below)

The follow-up to the 2005 hit “Resident Evil 4″ on the Nintendo GameCube, Sony Playstation 2 and Wii, this new game is the first offering in the survival horror series for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3. It’s due for a worldwide release on March 13, 2009.

Finally, a little more on Spore

spore.jpgElectronic 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. 

During the  company’s E3 press conference, EA showed a brief trailer of the game and set a release date, Sept. 7, for the latest title from legendary game creator Will Wright, known for creating “SimCity” and “The Sims.”

EA has invested $80 million, according to one analyst, into making ”Spore,” which was inspired by Wright’s love of science and his favorite toy as a child, a chemistry set.

“I get by with a little help from my friends…”

xbox-360-e3.jpgMicrosoft’s showcase of highly anticipated games for the Xbox 360 was mostly sequels of popular franchises, but all featured a new common element: cooperation.  Reuters games reporter Kemp Powers explains.

Cooperative play, in which several players work together to finish a single-player mission instead of blasting each other, seems to be the mode du jour these days.

It has already been announced that the next installment in the “Call of Duty” franchise, “Call of Duty: World at War,” will include a cooperative mode (the last game did not). “Halo 3,” the last installment of Microsoft’s flagship franchise, for the first time included the ability for up to four players to play the entire game cooperatively over Xbox Live.