In this new weekly feature, our journalist Mark Raby recounts all the big video game stories from the past week and ties them all together with his own editorial opinion.
It's the middle of July, a typical slow tech news week, but if you blinked you may have missed some crucial information that's come out about the Wii and the PS3. There are also some interesting, almost overlooked revelations about various things that's already beginning to have an impact.
First of all, whenever a legend in the gaming business steps down, it's worth taking a second look. The only high-profile "resignation" that was announced this week is that of Toru Iwatani, better known as the creator of Pac-Man. He's made little impact since then, but that game is credited with all number of revolutions, not the least of which is paving the way for story/character-based gameplay. Iwatani will be headed for a full-time job at a local Japanese university as a lecturer. If you're planning on studying abroad in the next couple years, make sure to take his class!Moving on to a story with bigger impact, Target made an announcement this week that could be the beginning of a huge blow for Sony. UMD Movies have been taken off the new inventory list for Target. Sony's proprietary format, while at one point was close to becoming a revolution in the movie medium, has quickly died off in popularity, and we could in fact soon see a universal removal of association with the format from all non-Sony studios. Target's decision is more of a reaction to this than a cause, but it is an eye-opener of the poor fate for UMDs.
Now on to the Wii. I just like writing that word. It still hasn't lost its novelty to me. Wii, wii, wii. Anyway, though this news didn't break this week, it's still causing a lot of commotion -- Analysts are now predicting an earlier launch for the Wii than most expected. It's now almost assumed that it will be released in October, as opposed to November (when the PS3 will make its retail debut). This just might be enough of an edge for Nintendo to capture the early dollars of people with tight wallets, especially those with undecided next-gen hardware decisions.
Though I'm sure Jason Anderson would say that that won't make a difference, as he believes that the PS3 will win the heated console war by 2009. His predictions were a blow to Wii fanatics, especially since he says Wii will come in dead last. I still say it's a little bit premature to make those predictions, since there's still so much more about these systems we don't know.
Rounding out the big Wii and PS3 headlines, GameFly jumps aboard the extremely early next-gen game bandwagon by adding several Wii and PS3 titles to their inventory, including some that aren't scheduled to come out until 2007, at least. Also, the giant EA pledges Wii support with 6 games, fronting the line-up with their sports titles. Obviously EA is interested in the Wii controller's ability to be used as a virtual piece of sports equipment.
Finally, while you all (and me) are waiting outside Best Buy at 11:00 at night for their 10:00 AM opening, our chief editor here at I4U will just walk into a store in Germany and pick up his pre-ordered PS3. It still boggles me as to why U.S. stores aren't accepting hardware pre-orders. We're way more obsessed with the idea of pre-ordering than our European counterparts, so it's just guaranteed money for EBGames and GameStop.
Anyway, for a seemingly mundane week, there were indeed some headlines that really should turn heads. Mainly, I'm excited about EA's seemingly enthusiastic early support for the Wii. Having a huge company like that on your side is sure to have a positive impact on Nintendo.
I also really think with the early Wii release, both console launches will get more coverage than if they were nearly simultaneous, but I do think this favors the Wii more. The first console to launch will be exciting, just because that's the way it's always been, but when the PS3 launches a month later, the glitter and pizzazz of a new system may be numbed a little bit because of the Wii.
Feature Published by: Mark Raby
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